As new figures highlight continued pressure on hospital beds and social care, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Care England are calling on the Chancellor to fund adult health and social care properly to provide the best care for elderly and disabled people, and to bring forward £700 million promised funding in next week’s budget.
Figures released today by NHS England on Delayed Transfers of Care show that more people were confined to hospital beds, despite being medically fit enough to leave, than at almost any other time on record. More of these than ever before – 32.3 per cent – were due solely to unprecedented pressures on the adult social care system.
However, figures from ResPublica show that where delayed discharge patients will cost the NHS £3.3 billion over the next five years, it would cost just £835 million to look after them in an appropriate residential care setting. The United Kingdom Homecare Association Limited found that the money the NHS currently spends on delayed discharge patients would fund 14,900 hours of homecare per day. Adequately funding social care would therefore not only make sure people could go home or into a care home when they were ready, but free up severely stretched NHS funds to spend on vital acute care.
ADASS President, Ray James, said:
“People deserve to receive the care and support they need in the right place and at the right time. Sometimes that will be in hospital, but when people are well enough to leave, we need to have good care available to get people home safely.
“More people are now living longer, with increasingly complex needs, while adult social care budgets have been cut by £4.6 billion in the last five years. There can be no getting away from the simple truth that the demand for and cost of providing social care significantly exceeds the money being made available by government.
“The Government has promised more money but it is too little and too late. Unless the Government addresses the chronic underfunding of adult social care – and quickly – many services will be at significant risk over the next couple of years, with worrying consequences not only for the NHS, but most of all for older and disabled people, their families and carers. While by no means a complete solution, bringing forward the new funding currently planned for the end of this parliament would go some way to alleviating this immediate pressure.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said:
“Independent care providers have capacity now to support quality care for people on discharge from hospital. It makes no sense for people to be kept waiting in hospital, which is not good for their wellbeing or cost effective for the health system. Let’s put the necessary funding into social care, where it can be best used to meet the needs of people in our communities immediately and address this constantly rising number of delayed transfers.”