Guest blog – Strengthening the Care Bill

This blog was contributed by Baroness Sally Greengross, a crossbench member of the House of Lords. Baroness Greengross is seeking to amend the Care Bill, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords, on the issue of delayed discharge.

The Care Bill that is currently being debated in the House of Lords is a vital part of the changes that are necessary to reform social care in England, by clarifying and bringing up-to-date the legal framework of the care system. A key area that the Bill must address is the delay that those needing social care experience, while waiting for a package of support to be put in place to enable them to leave hospital.

Baroness Greengross
Baroness Greengross

Facing a stay on a hospital ward can be difficult for anyone but for an older person being admitted following a crisis, such as broken hip from a fall at home, it can be particularly upsetting and disruptive.

Recent statistics show that people who experience a delay in accessing social care, go on to wait much longer for a package of support to be put in place compared to when the Government came to power. Someone will now wait an average of 27 days in hospital before a social care package is put together to allow them to go home – 12.8 per cent longer. For those accessing residential care the average wait is 30.3 days.

The impact of this is two-fold. For an older person in a vulnerable position being left languishing in hospital is not only upsetting for them and their families but it can have a negative impact on their recovering. This also has significant financial implications for our NHS. Since the Coalition came into power the estimated total cost to the health service of delayed discharge from waiting for social care provision is £260 million or over 1 million NHS days. An NHS bed costs on average around £250 a day compared to the £524 average weekly cost of residential care.

The significant rise in the length of time people have to wait for the right care and support to be put in place points to a breakdown in the system, at a time when social care spending has dramatically fallen.

Councils up and down the country are struggling to balance their budgets and this has had a significant impact on the funding of the social care. In real terms £810 million has been cut from social care budgets and most of this has come from reduced local authority funding.

Tackling the issue of delayed discharge involves not only strengthening the Care Bill to ensure services are better coordinated and integrated but also putting an end to the crisis in social care. The current and future funding of social care is dependent on a long term commitment to finding sufficient resources to make sure that every older person gets the care that they need, when they need it.

The measures contained in the Care Bill have the potential to make great strides to creating a system where all older people can get the care they need. Find out more about Age UK’s Care in Crisis campaign

Read our Care Bill briefing

Author: Age UK

Age UK is dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. In the UK we help more than 7 million older people each year by providing advice, combating loneliness and enabling independence. Locally, we work as part of a network of independent charities which includes Age UK, Age Cymru, Age NI and Age Scotland and over 150 local Age UK partners in England and Wales.

One thought on “Guest blog – Strengthening the Care Bill”

  1. Very concerned re. the targeting the elderly in the media etc with threats of withdrawing benefits, bus passes, T.V. Licences,cold fuel allowances ,and even the State pension itself. A pressure group is needed th protect us. Many elderly do communal work travelling by public transport, this will stop if bus passes are limited. Many will just stay at home lonely and limited by lack of .T.V. viewing and in the cold.
    What sort of heartless society are we living in, the elderly picked on to support others who may be less deserving and perhaps not even having contributed over a lifetime towards a State pension and benefits which we considered were our support in old age.
    The argument regarding the fact that the young cannot afford homes is a purely political one. There is a lack of new homes by the government.there is also the issue of crazy high prices in London fuelled by overseas investors who consider London a bolt hole and a safe place to put their capital
    With so much foreign investment it is the governments duty to build or encourage private companies to build new homes to house the younger population. Not look with desperate attitudes to the retired and elderly to contribute. Clearly we are not wanted and are an encumberence
    We also should have rights, and a society that dismisses the old as a nuisance is no better than the Nazis in the 30’s
    Gillian Fenner

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