Elderly bed blocking crisis for NHS

Published: 23/07/2015

There has been a 15% increase in the number of ‘bed days’ lost in the year to March because patients could not be transferred from hospital. Commons library figures showed that 28% more people had to wait in hospital for a nursing home place to become available whilst 65% had to wait for a care package to be set up so they could be discharged home. Statistics show that there are 300,000 fewer people over the age of 65 receiving state-funded social care services. Lee Baker, Head of Care Home Fees looks at how this picture compares with that for Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) funding.

“Political commentators are highlighting that social care budgets have been cut by £3.5bn since 2010 and pointing to that as an explanation for this crisis. However I think the picture is more complex than that. State funded elderly care is not only for social care there’s also funding for those older people who have primary health needs.

“The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) funds residential care for elderly people who have a primary health need. Some of the health conditions that are included as primary health needs are: Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes, suffering a stroke and having a history of heart attacks. This funding is not means tested but rather it is allocated following a medical assessment.

“The problem is that many people are unaware of how CCG funding works and so they do not seek this when their elderly relative needs nursing care. As they mistakenly believe that any nursing care would have to be funded by their family member they don’t proactively encourage hospital staff to discharge their elderly relative into a care home, thinking they can’t reclaim care home fees. This crisis is partly due to a lack of clear communication!”

Content correct at time of publication

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