William Eichler 12 January 2017

Social care failings now account for a third of hospital discharge delays

Social care should undergo an ‘urgent’ review before the Spring budget and local authority leaders should play a central part, council chiefs said in response to the latest delayed transfers of care figures.

The monthly delayed transfers of care data for last November showed the proportion of delays attributable to social care has increased over a one year period to 34.8%, compared to 31.1% in November 2015.

The main reason cited for this increase was ‘patients awaiting care package in their own home.’ This accounted for 24,500 delayed days last November, compared to 16,300 the previous year.

57.2% of all delays were attributable to the NHS. The main reason cited was ‘patients awaiting further non-acute NHS care.’

‘Elderly and vulnerable people need to be supported to remain in their homes for as long as possible and receive care in the community, not in a ward,’ said Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board.

‘With social care facing a funding gap of £2.6bn by 2020, it is vital that the Government properly funds social care if we are to get people out of hospital and safely into the community. Without this, the NHS will continue to suffer.’

Cllr Seccombe warned extra council tax raising powers in the form of the social care precept would not be enough to solve the ongoing crisis and said only ‘genuinely new Government money’ could protect services.

She called for a review of social care before the Spring budget.

‘We are also calling for an urgent and fundamental review of social care before the Spring budget, and for local government leaders, who are responsible for social care in their local communities, to be a central part of that.

‘This is imperative to get a long-term, sustainable solution to the social care crisis that the most vulnerable people in our society deserve.’

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