Elderly are stuck in hospital due to cuts

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Cuts to social care budgets mean older Lancashire residents are stuck in hospital longer than they need to.

Elderly people are languishing in hospital unnecessarily because government cuts combined with rising costs have left the social care system struggling to cope.

Gill Reynolds, director at Hillcroft Nursing Homes, which operates six care homes inMorecambe and Lancaster, said: “Adequate resources are needed to attract and retain appropriate staff and enable us to provide the right environment for residents to enjoy a good quality of life,” she added.

“It’s so important to make sure social care has the funding it needs.”

Up to 38 per cent of delayed hospital discharges are caused by a lack of adequate places in social and community care for people to go to.

Known as ‘bed blocking’ – when a patient remains in hospital because there’s nowhere else for them to go - it puts pressure on NHS resources and strips people of their independence and dignity, according to social care experts.

Independent health think-tank The King’s Fund published a report last year which said central government had reduced its funding to local government in real terms by 37 per cent between 2010/11 and 2015/16.

It’s created a knock-on effect, with cuts being passed onto care homes. This, coupled with a rise in costs has led to 380 homes being declared insolvent since 2010.

“Delayed discharges are an unnecessary drain on NHS resources,” said Louise Mattinson, who is also a Hillcroft Nursing Home director.

“Delivering safe and effective care that the elderly deserve needs proper funding. “In our experience patients in hospital who have had long term stays can end up having reduced mobility and compromised independence.

“This is not a criticism of the care provided within the NHS but of the process which results in patients staying in hospital longer than necessary.”