A report by Lord Carter found that one in 10 hospital beds was being occupied by someone who couldn’t be discharged because there was no social care available to look after them.
And the report warned that this delay in getting people the care they need was costing the NHS £900m a year.
Whilst supporting the report, the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire) says it only confirmed what people already know.
“We have had endless reports, all saying the same thing – that a generation of cut backs on social care funding, running into millions of pounds, is having a devastating effect,” said the Group’s chair, Mike Padgham. “It is becoming like the endless diet reports that tell us that eating too much sugar is bad for us.
“We welcome Lord Carter’s findings and hope that it prompts some action. But we have to question why we have to have so many reports, likely costing many, many hundreds of thousands of pounds, to tell us what we already know. We would prefer to see money being spent on doing something about it.”
At the end of last year, figures revealed that the bill to Yorkshire hospitals alone in 2014-15 was some £32m because of 100,000 occasions when someone could have left hospital but was unable to because there was no social care available to look after them.
“The harsh reality is that we have seen more than £5bn cut from social care budgets in the past five years, with the result that there are now fewer care home places and less care for people in their own home,” Mr Padgham added.
“These delayed transfers of care are inevitable and not only cost a huge amount of money but also deprive someone else in need of that hospital bed. Even the term coined for this, “bed blocking” is an unfair one, as it suggests that people don’t deserve to be cared for in a bed, when the plain truth is that there is just nowhere else for them to go!
“The country has to wake up to the fact that we aren’t looking after our older and vulnerable adults properly. Their quality of later life is suffering and we are seeing these mountainous debts for hospital care growing daily.
“We have to have better funding for social care and a merging of health and social care into one, coherent department that cares for our nation’s health and social care, from the cradle to the grave.
“Every pound spent on social care – on looking after someone in their own home, in a care home or through day care – should be viewed as an investment in their quality of life and in preventing them from having to be cared for in costly hospital beds instead – it is plain common sense and we don’t need any more expensive reports to tell us.”