Responding to a report published in the BMJ, which says the increased prevalence of patients being delayed in discharge from hospital in 2015 was associated with a rise in mortality, Glen Garrod, Vice President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:
“This useful report shines a light on the important debate about what is happening to older and disabled people who need health and social care support at a time of austerity and when councils’ adult social care budgets have been reduced significantly.
“Although the findings appear to confirm views expressed elsewhere, it is important to note that other factors, aside from delayed discharge, may also have a bearing on the rise in mortality reported.
“ADASS supports the priority attached to timely discharges from both acute and non-acute healthcare settings, and in ensuring that people are not inappropriately admitted to acute care when alternative solutions could generate better outcomes for them.
“The latest delayed discharge figures show that despite significant challenges related to increased demands and costs, the dedicated hard work of social workers and care staff together with the welcome additional emergency £1 billion for social care this year, have all contributed to a reduction in the numbers of people waiting in hospital for care at home.
“Our budget survey further shows that councils across the country are continuing to protect adult care – the proportion of council spending on adult social care is set to increase by 1.3 per cent this year, despite cuts in overall budgets – and most delayed discharges are due to people requiring further NHS services, rather than waiting for council social care.
“However, adult social care remains under financial pressure and unless a long-term solution to funding adult social care is established both the NHS and older and disabled people will continue to suffer.”