Health spending should be diverted to caring for older people
26th June 2015
Scottish Care has suggested that there should be more investment in social care for older people, even if this means freezing funding for healthcare. This is because many pensioners are being admitted to hospital unnecessarily, which is causing costs for the NHS that could be avoided. Many people could return home sooner if they had adaptations such as stairlifts in the home, or were able to have care visitors to ensure that they were recovering at the required rate.
Scottish Care recently published the findings of its research, which shows that the average cost of an emergency hospital stay for over 65s is £4,846, with 20 per cent of these stays being ‘unnecessary’ admissions. This is the equivalent of care at home for 27.7 older people, or 9.28 weeks in a residential care home for one pensioner. Unscheduled admissions in this age group also amount to a third of the £4.5 billion spent on health and social care for the elderly.
Health spending should be frozen and funds diverted to improving care for older people
While the spokesman for Scottish Care has expressed that this is not an attack on the NHS, he also said that many politicians want to be defenders of the NHS, which is why it is often given more funding than social care. He also describes how older people are being sent to hospital because of the lack of alternatives, rather than for reasons such as their clinical needs. The research also found that more hours of care at home have been provided by fewer staff, with those in the care sector typically receiving lower rates of pay than the Scottish average.
The Scottish government has stated how it wishes to integrate partnerships with health and social care in order to deliver better services. In an article by the BBC, Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "Alongside the NHS, we are committed to ensuring that all patients have access to the right care, in the right place at the right time. In partnership with local government, we are integrating health and social care services to support better provision of care within communities and in people's homes.”
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