Improved bed blocking rates ‘saves NHS £60m’

22 Aug 18

An improvement in the rate at which people ready to leave hospital are transferred into adult social care has saved the NHS £60m, according to sector leaders.

Official health care stats have shown delays to ‘transfer of care’ in England have fallen by 46% since March 2017 to June 2018, from 74,22 to 40,209, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has highlighted.

Julie Ogley, vice president of ADASS, said: “Our dedicated workforce has done a tremendous job over the last year with limited resources, saving the NHS almost £60m by keeping people out of hospital. This demonstrates the ability of social care to make an impact.”

The membership organisation has argued further funding for adult social care would offer the taxpayer “significant savings”.

It calculated the average cost of residential care is £91 per day, which is £221 cheaper than an excess bed day in hospital.

ADASS found that the cost of delivering ‘excess’ bed days in hospitals in 2016-17 was £250m, but if these were provided through residential care, the cost would have been just £73m.

Ogley called on the government to provide a long-term funding settlement for the sector in the forthcoming social care green paper.

She said: “It is essential that the government builds on the work of the Local Government Association and others in the sector, and deliver the green paper, which must contain a long-term funding solution, as soon as possible.”

Ogley also called for interim funding to help the sector cope with current pressures.

She added: “In the meantime, however urgent and immediate funding is needed to help social care keep track with the pressure of an ageing population, and in turn, reduce those pressures on the NHS.”

ADASS said that the best way to help people live independently is to provide care in the community, and where possible, keep them out of hospitals.

In its annual budget survey ADASS found that only 32% of social care directors were confident in meeting savings targets for 2020-21.

On Sunday, health and social care committee chair Sarah Wollaston criticised proposals for a ‘care Isa’ to fund end of life treatment and ease the social care crisis.

The Sunday Telegraph revealed it was a suggestion being considered by the Treasury, as part of the social care green paper.

Currently, Isas are taxed when a person dies, so people are incentivised to pass on their savings throughout their life rather than keeping them to fund their care.

But the ‘care Isa’ would be exempt from inheritance tax. So if an individual does not need to spend it they can pass it on to relatives tax free. 

 

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