The word crisis is often over-used, but the NHS is facing a genuine crisis in which its component parts are struggling with the amount of work they face and the financial and human resources which they have at their disposal. A House of Commons Briefing Paper, NHS Indicators: England January 2017, shows the scale of the crisis engulfing the NHS.
Amalgamating health and social care services has long been spoken of as an objective, in the light of the so-called ‘bed-blocking’ phenomenon; largely elderly people deemed fit enough to leave hospital but who cannot be accommodated with support in their home or a care-home. Yet this objective is impossible in a situation where both the NHS and care services are under-funded. The connection and feedback with the social care crisis is reflected in the 26% increase in delayed transfers of patients from hospitals from November 2015 to November 2016. Delay because of the inability to provide care at home or in a nursing home increased by 47%. In the twelve months to November 2016 there were 2.12 million ‘delayed days’ when patients who should have been released were still in a hospital bed. This was 22% higher than in the 12 months to November 2015. Over this period, delays where the NHS was at least partially responsible rose by 15%, and those where social care organisations were at least partially responsible rose by 35%. In October 2016 there was a daily average of 3,692 delays attributable to the NHS, 2,249 to social care, and 515 to both.
(To read on download a PDF here nhsindicatorsarticle )