It has been a common observation that elderly or those who need social care occupy a big number of beds in hospitals. Due to this, the new patients are left at the mercy of treatments done in the corridors and places with no medical amenities. The GPs are overwhelmed with the number of patients suffering due to diseases and the Accidents and Emergency visits have increased by nine million a year when compared to those in 2000.
Even the NHS has been failing to accommodate people that need emergency care as it is compelled to arrange for social care duties. Due to the shortage of budget day care centres for the disabled, home visits were reduced by a bare minimum. Statistics suggest that there has been a 224 percent increase in the number of people waiting in wards for a suitable home package. As more than 260 care homes have closed down, it increases the traffic in hospital wards.
The scenario would become shoddier as the number of people above 75 years would add in the next five years and diseases like dementia are killing more people that cancer does. The situation is so critical that people with suspected meningitis, sepsis and overdoses have to wait in ambulances as the beds are occupied by the elderly. Due to this, there are sights of haemorrhages in corridors as there are not enough beds for people to get admitted.
Financially speaking, it costs £250 a day if the patient is admitted in the ward and £150 a day if they live in care home while just £100 a day if they are at home. Naturally, being home is not only beneficial emotionally but also financially. However, an increasing number of people are ending up in hospital beds rather than in the comforts of their home. Simon Stevens, head of NHS England expressed his views on this topic by saying that government funding should prioritise social care as the current system is neither working for the patients nor for the hospitals.
One of the best solutions is to merge the NHS and social care budgets in such a way that responsibilities are divided between the two departments. Integrated services are planned in a couple of areas and good results are expected. More GP services for home visits should be planned to offer adequate treatment to the elderly so that hospitals remain vacant for other people.
The chief executive of Salford Royal NHS trust, Sir David Dalton says, “It’s only just started so we are still seeing huge pressure on our hospitals but I think that gradually we are getting to a better place. Most elderly people want to be cared for in their homes not on a ward. But social care needs more money.”
The government is actively involved in dealing with this issue and a request was been put forward to the Prime Minister for a cross-party agreement on social care. The Prime Minister Theresa May and the chancellor have suggested councils to increase spending. However, they are reluctant especially for people living in deprived areas as they cannot afford the financial struggles associated with social care.
The NHS as well as other hospitals needs to consider measures that can streamline social care and offer regular treatments of the patients. One piece of advice for the patients is to have health insurance so as to combat the financial pressures of the medical treatments. One needs to shop around to find the best health insurance for their elderly family members.
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