The Government’s devastating cuts to budgets for elderly care are a major cause of the A&E crisis. Fewer older people are getting the care they need at home, meaning more are having to be admitted to hospital, and more get stuck in hospital beds at the end of their treatment because the help isn’t there at home.
Hospitals are struggling to cope. Experts say A&Es don’t have safe staffing levels, we’ve seen more than 4,000 nurses cut from the NHS.
So we are spending thousands on expensive hospital care when a few pounds at home can keep people well. And with hospital beds not being freed up, the pressure backs up through A&E, which can’t then admit new patients to the ward.
It is bad for older people, bad for all patients using A&E and bad for taxpayers.
Labour have suggested that they would support our struggling health and care services. They would invest £1.2bn over the next two years to ease the crisis in social care – tackling a root cause of the pressure on A&E. For older people, this could make a huge difference by enabling them to stay in their own homes for longer and providing the support they need to return home after hospital. For example, it could allow for an extra 70 million hours of home care across England over the next two years, or provide home care for an extra 65,000 older people each year.
Over the longer term, they will bring health and care together into a single service to meet all of a person’s care needs – physical, mental and social. Your care would be organised by a single professional who you know (stay independent).
To protect the NHS from the immediate crisis it faces, they would use the ‘underspends’ in the NHS budget to put an extra billion pounds into social care over the next two years (2013/14 and 2014/15). This extra investment would not only relieve the pressure on A&E; it would help tackle the scandal of care services being withdrawn from older people who need them – enabling more people stay healthy and independent in their own homes – and help families being squeezed by rising charges for care.
Extracts sourced from: http://labourlist.org