FIGURES released last week (Thursday 11 Feb) indicate decent social care provision will be crucial to produce efficiencies in the NHS and its survival, according to the UK’s largest care and support organisation.
Department of Health data shows there has been an increase in the number of days lost to bed blocking in the NHS due to inadequate social care provision. December 2014 saw 26.3% of all delayed days attributable to social care increasing to 32.3% in December 2015.
The increase comes against a backdrop of reduced funding to Local Authorities which are responsible for social care provision.
The report said the main reason for social care delays in December 2015 was ‘patients awaiting care package in their own home’ with other reasons including awaiting suitable accommodation or public funding.
Mark Henderson, chief executive of Home Group – one of the UK’s largest landlords and the UK’s largest care and support provider argues the figures reinforce Home Group’s call for the Department of Health to be included in ongoing discussions on Local Housing Allowances for supported accommodation.
Mr Henderson said: “Today’s figures show an increase of 23% in just 12 months. This reinforces the constant pressure the NHS is under and the ongoing challenges it faces. This issue will only become more acute with the proposed introduction of a cap on Local Housing Allowances.
“For a fraction of the cost of providing the same care in a medical or clinical setting, supported housing frees up bed spaces freeing up capacity in the NHS and allowing people to continue their recovery in the community.
“Supported housing improves vulnerable people’s health and independence and helps ease the pressure on the NHS and other services. Without such services today’s figures would show an NHS under substantially more pressure and facing even greater challenges.
“That’s why it is vital that the Department of Health included in on-going discussions between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government on Local Housing Allowances for supported accommodation.
“Today’s numbers come on the back of last week’s report by Lord Carter that shows delayed discharge, or bed blocking, accounts for almost one in 10 beds being occupied in the NHS.”
Lord Carter’s report identified that delayed discharge costs an estimated £900m each year and is caused by issues largely beyond the control of the NHS, such as lack of suitable supported accommodation.