Daily Mail

Labour: Places in care homes should be paid for by NHS hospitals

- By Shaun Wooller and Kate Pickles

HOSPITAL bosses should raid their NHS budgets to pay for care home places so patients do not remain stuck on ‘lobster trap’ wards, Labour will demand today.

Wes Streeting will praise ‘trailblazi­ng’ trust leaders who have chosen to fund social care to ease ‘gridlock’ in their hospitals.

The party’s health spokesman will

‘The most perilous situation’

also tell executives gathered at the NHS Providers conference in Liverpool that more should do the same, while criticisin­g the Government for failing to spend a penny of its promised £500million delayed discharge fund.

In yesterday’s Mail the country’s leading A& E doctor warned that hospitals are so full it is harming elderly patients. Dr Adrian Boyle said he was desperate to keep his elderly parents out of hospital this winter because he fears they won’t come out again.

He compared hospitals to lobster traps after NHS figures showed more than 13,500 people are stranded in them every day due to the lack of available social care packages.

Some medically fit patients spend as long as nine months stuck in hospital. The bed blockers are hampering the ability of ambulances to offload patients and respond promptly to 999 calls and slowing the rate at which hospitals can tackle record waiting lists.

Mr Streeting is expected to say: ‘The warning that hospitals are becoming “lobster traps” needs to be met with action. Not a penny of the funding earmarked to increase capacity in social care this winter has left Whitehall. Health Secretary Steve Barclay needs to pull his finger out, get that funding out the door before it is too late, and ensure patients aren’t stuck in hospital any longer.

‘The best NHS leaders aren’t waiting for the Government to act. Trailblazi­ng trust leaders are voluntaril­y giving up funding to invest in local social care beds.’

Meanwhile, 12 leading health charities – known as the Richmond Group – warn today: ‘We believe that the NHS and Social Care system is now in the most perilous situation in living memory. Increased funding is crucial.’ They say the fallout from the pandemic has ‘turned cracks in the system into gaping chasms’. The healthcare system was facing ‘catastroph­e’ as it was overwhelme­d by demand.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘We are investing £500million of extra funding to speed up the safe discharge of patients from hospital and recruit and retain more care workers to support people who no longer need to be in hospital.

‘The NHS is also creating the equivalent of 7,000 more beds this winter.’ The department said it is working to finalise details of how the discharge fund will be distribute­d and this will be announced ‘as soon as possible’.


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