Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Britain is no country for old men in hospital with nowhere to go

The 'Guardian' newspaper ran an article today :

Bed blocking on the rise as care cuts leave elderly stuck in hospital. Doctors blame local councils for making it harder for older people to access home help, forcing them to stay in hospital.

The facts are that :

* thousands of older patients are being forced to stay in hospital long after they are fit enough to leave.

* in a survey of 502 doctors working in British hospitals, 251 (50%) said the problem known as 'bed blocking', which costs the National Health Service tens of millions of pounds a year and forces needier patients to wait on trolleys, was worse now than a year ago, while 200 (40%) said it had not improved.

* senior doctors blamed local councils for making it harder for older people to access 'home help' for vital tasks, such as eating and washing and so forcing them to stay in hospital unnecessarily.

* doctors also said that recent cuts to local council social services budgets were exacerbating the problem because by redefining the 'eligibility criteria' had left older people, who have been unwell, trapped in hospital because they cannot afford to return to living independently at home.

* other patients with 'pressing medical conditions' cannot be admitted immediately because healthy patients are occupying beds.

* the Commons Public Accounts Committee has previously estimated that bed blocking costs the NHS £170m a year and has complained that an 'intolerable' number of elderly patients wait too long after treatment before they are discharged.

* paients who have a prolonged spell in hospital face an increased risk of suffering complications associated with health care, such as infections, blood clots, and social isolation.

What a sad country Britain has become.


To lighten things up : the comedians Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse :

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