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Delayed discharge rates have risen under current government

Age UK calls for urgent cash injection

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

People are having to wait on average 13% longer in hospital before finding a place in a residential care home, compared to when the Government came to power.

This is the message from Age UK, which claims over 1 million NHS days have been lost to people waiting for social care since 2010. Age UK states that those waiting to be transferred to a care home wait on average 30.3 days - costing the NHS £7,575 each on bed and board costs alone.

An NHS bed costs on average around £2,502 a day – compared to the £5,243 average weekly cost of residential care, according to Age UK.

Those waiting for a social care package to be put together in their own home are also having to wait 12.8% longer – on average 27 days. Whilst those needing adaptations such as grab rails or ramps to be fitted in their home now wait nearly 10.4% longer spending an average of nearly 27 days in hospital on average compared to 25.8 when the Government came to power, states the charity.

Overall the underlying trend for days lost to delayed discharge is up by 1.5% from 1,360,230 in 2010/11 to a projected total of 1,381,445 for 2012/13. 

In total in 2012/13 nearly 36% of the total number of delayed discharge days in the last year are linked to waiting for social care provision. 

The total estimated cost to the NHS of delayed discharged linked to waiting for social care provision since the government came to power is £260 million, according to the charity.

Nonetheless, Age UK said it welcomes the Government’s vision announced today of joined up health and community care. However, it cautions that for this to work there needs to be good social care provision in place with sufficient funding.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said “The steep rise in the length of time people are waiting for a care home place, home care or adaptations – significantly above the general rise in delayed discharge waits - suggests that something has gone seriously wrong in the transition from hospital to home or residential care during the time when we know social care spending has fallen dramatically.

"We need the Care Support Bill to be twinned with both an emergency injection of funds to shore up the current system and a long term commitment to finding sufficient resources to make sure that every older person gets the care they need, when they need it.”

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