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Loss of 80,000 care beds will intensify bed-blocking


Council spending cuts are predicted to result in the loss of 81,000 care-home beds across the UK over the next 10 years, intensifying NHS  bed-blocking problems, Bupa has warned.

The UK’s second-largest care-home operator said funding-related closures, coupled with increased demand for places, meant almost 100,000 older people could be unable to access the care-home places they needed.

Currently there are some 428,000 independent residential home beds, some 52% of which are funded by local authorities, and 8% by the NHS. Estimates indicate that council fees increased by a less-than-inflation average of 0.8% during 2010-11.

Managing director of Bupa Care Services Mark Ellerby, said future below-inflation increase in the fees paid by local authorities to care-home operators would be the cause of capacity reductions.

“Tens of thousands of older people who need specialist help will be unable to access care home places,” he said.

“Even if just half of these people were admitted to hospital it would put an intolerable strain on the already-stressed 170,000 NHS beds in the UK.”

NHS Confederation deputy policy director Jo Webber said: “The NHS is extremely worried about this issue as the impact on the NHS could be very significant. It is vital that the money earmarked by the government is spent on social care.

“It is a false economy to allow more, often the most vulnerable, patients end up in hospital rather than providing the right support where they need it most in their communities.

“There are already signs of strain in some places. We know the solution is for the NHS, local government and community services to work together to make sure that patients are discharged from hospital and get the appropriate support as quickly as possible.”

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Readers' comments (7)

  • False economy and no joined up thinking are my watch words.

    The reality of care beds going, hospital beds going too added to an increasingly ageing population, does not require any six figure salary manager or Prime Minister to work out that this bodes disaster. I can hear 'Govenment U-turn' being screamed from the rooftops and frankly the Conservative always intended dismantling of the NHS resulting in the most vulnerable paying the price in health and quality of life. Tory and Lib-Dem's don't care 'cos 'I'm all right, Jack, with my safe upper/ middle class comfort bubble protecting me from me from real life."

    We need rational and measured decision making on budget cutting not this, quick fix knee jerk panic. So far the top down decision making that is still in evidence, is rubbish and ill thought, but it is the fault of anyone who voted Tory that we are in this mess (not to mention those fat cat Bankers.) (Not that any politician can be trusted to mean what they say in an election manifesto.)

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  • God Help our Elderley because NO ONE ELSE WILL

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  • Society is made up of families and everyone is issue of a family or at least a union between two parents no matter how brief and it is everyone's responsibility to look after the elderly just as they had to look after individuals at the beginning of life.

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  • Anonymous | 24-Feb-2011 9:46 pm

    God Help our Elderley because NO ONE ELSE WILL, I agree

    Anonymous | 24-Feb-2011 11:25 pm

    I cared for my parents, but have no children, any suggestions?

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  • Well the Chief Exec in our trust is closing hospital beds because he confidently predicts more patients could be looked after in the "community". Wonder where he thinks they will be going? Still I don't suppose that will be his problem!

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  • Bed blocks, they are wooden/metal devices you put under beds or chairs to increase their height...oh sorry, we are talking about human beings, no excuse for the sarcasm!!

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  • Anonymous | 28-Feb-2011 0:55 am

    A wrap over the knuckles for this intelligent observation about yet another label for a category of human beings!

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