Failing social care puts unsustainable pressure on the NHS
12 December 2016
by 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 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
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.’
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.