Properly funded social care ‘best 75th birthday present NHS could receive’, say charities
A commitment to properly fund social care would be the “best 75th birthday present that the NHS could receive”, political party leaders have been told.
A coalition of more than 60 of England’s leading charities said the neglect of the social care sector is becoming “increasingly unsustainable and exacerbating the challenges faced by the NHS”.
The Care and Support Alliance (CSA) said a lack of social care to prevent unplanned admissions and allow people to be safely discharged is making the situation harder.
In its message to party leaders, the group called for a “reformed and properly funded social care system” which it said would not only be helpful to millions of older and disabled people and their carers, but would also reduce the pressure on the NHS, so that it can concentrate on tackling record high waiting lists.
The alliance said emergency departments at hospitals “are seeing increasing numbers of people admitted because they aren’t receiving the care and support they need to remain independent at home”, and those people are then often unable to be discharged as “the right care packages aren’t in place”.
The group said: “It’s a vicious circle that’s causing significant heartache and distress to service users – and huge difficulties for the NHS too.”
Caroline Abrahams (pictured), charity director of Age UK and CSA co-chair, said: “It is important for politicians to recognise just how much harder the situation is being made by the lack of social care available to prevent unplanned admissions and allow people to be safely discharged.
“The financial cost is staggering, but the human cost is arguably even greater, with many older and disabled people finding this means their recovery and rehabilitation is seriously delayed or, in the worst cases, completely unattainable.
“The impact is also felt by the rest of the population, who face hours of delay at A&E departments as they wait for a bed to become available or are languishing on waiting lists to see a specialist or have an operation.
“As the population ages, and as more people live longer with multiple, complex conditions, the neglect of social care is becoming increasingly unsustainable and is only exacerbating the challenges faced by the NHS.
“That’s why the best gift the NHS could receive on its 75th birthday is a properly funded social care system.
“This would not only be hugely important for millions of older and disabled people and their carers who deserve decent care but would also reduce the demand on the NHS, so that it can concentrate on tackling record high waiting lists for the benefit of all.”
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