Better social care can help hospital A&E and beds crisis

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Mike Padgham , chair, Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire)
Mike Padgham , chair, Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire)

The problems currently being faced by hospitals across the country could be eased through greater investment in care for older and vulnerable adults, a social care group said today.

The Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire) says better social care could keep many people out of Accident and Emergency (A&E) and hospital beds, freeing them up for emergency cases.

The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “We should not be surprised at what is happening at these hospitals. The crisis has been bubbling for some time and yet nobody is addressing one fundamental way that could ease pressure on A&E and hospital beds.

“One of the issues is the number of older and vulnerable adults who are being cared for in hospital rather than at home or in care homes where they would be better off.

“But because local authority commissioners have been cutting and cutting the amount of social care they fund, fewer and fewer people are getting care home or home care support. In many of the current hospital cases, older people are in hospital beds because there is not the right care available for them if they were discharged.

“If the local authorities, and for that matter the Government, put more funding into social care it would actually save money for the NHS by providing care where people want to be cared for and not in hugely expensive hospital beds, which should be available for emergencies.”

Mr Padgham is calling for social care funding to be a manifesto issue in the forthcoming General Election.

“We have to face up to the fact that if people want to care for older and vulnerable adults properly, we are going to have to fund social care properly too,” he added.

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