Hospital bed blocking has rocketed 30% due to savage cuts in social care. Damning official figures reveal hospital bed days lost because home care is slow to be set up have soared from 2,867 days a month to 3,740.
Overall 70,028 bed days were lost because of delayed discharges from hospital last month, up nearly 15,000 days since summer 2010. At the same time ministers have slashed £1.4billion from council funds to look after the old.
Labour says the resulting pressure on beds has hit accident and emergency wards – with the numbers waiting on trolleys for more than four hours up by 44,000 – from 108,314 to 152,591 in just a year.
Labour’s Andrew Gwynne said:
“By slashing social care budgets to the bone David Cameron has overseen a collapse of community help and support.
“Older people in particular are finding the support they need to stay in the home is just not available and so they can’t leave hospital.”
“This is causing the pressure to build in A&E as patients can’t be moved to wards.”
As well as the jump in trolley waits, the number of ambulances turned away from A&E because beds were full jumped by almost a quarter last year, from 287 to 357.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:
“The situation has deteriorated significantly on this Government’s watch. This is a crisis of their own making.”
This article appeared in the Daily Mirror on 30th May 2013, and can be viewed here.