Failing social care puts unsustainable pressure on the NHS

12 December 2016

Natasha Jethaby Natasha Jetha

Every day in the news at the moment we hear about the impact of funding pressures on social care and the NHS. Both systems are under huge pressure, especially during the winter months.

Continued funding cuts in social care are adding to the already huge pressures on the NHS — in accident and emergency, in doctors surgeries and on our hospital wards.

That’s because without the right social care, people too often end up in hospital when it could have been avoided.

400,000 fewer people are receiving social care

Recent research by Leonard Cheshire Disability found 40% of disabled adults who don’t receive enough social care say it has a negative impact on their physical health. And one in 11 say they have spent more time in hospital as a result.

The number of people trapped in hospital because they don't have enough social care is up by 38%. That's 4,990 more people. They would fill Guy's Hospital in London 12 times over.Even when people are well enough to leave hospital this often proves difficult or impossible because the right social care isn’t available in their local community.

The impact on the NHS is serious. So far this year there has been a 38% increase in the number of people delayed leaving hospital because of the lack of social care, compared to the same time last year. That’s almost 5,000 more people.

This is not surprising given over 400,000 fewer people are receiving social care compared to 2009.

Gaps in social care

Julie: I need to know emergency care will be there when I need it.Gaps in her social care mean Julie, from West Yorkshire, has been left without support to take vital medication. The impact on her health is serious when this happens.

‘I rely on support with my medication. My condition is one of those that if you miss one dose, I can go in to adrenal crisis, two doses, I can go into adrenal crisis coma, and more missed doses can cause death within 72 hours.

‘When I miss a dose or get it late, I get symptoms like a stroke. A side of my body goes weak and I slur my speech.’ — Julie Sharp

That’s why we will continue to call on the government to urgently bring forward increased funding for social care. In the longer term, we are also calling for the UK government to set up a cross-party commission on the future of health and social care in England.

Natasha Jetha is a policy and research officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability.


not just social care, NHS CHC not working either. read my blog

I've identified numerous Gap between departments, agencies, Council etc not joined up work at all

and inadequate trained Carers, also some unable to read and write English yet expected to aid clients with life saving/prolonging Medications

they should be made to feel valued and assisted to give the best possible Care for their Clients

I have read Julie's story and all the others that you have highlighted recently. The Local Authorities are failing to meet the needs of these people. This is against the law! These people with the help of their families/advocates should complain to their LA's (l know it's a long drawn out 3 tier procedure but the only way is to stick with it!). There is a good problem solving toolkit on the website to help you understand your rights. If the LA refuses to follow the law of the Care Act you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman who will ensure that the LA's follow the law. They have a duty to meet identified needs.

Add new comment