Health and social care cuts linked to 120,000 deaths

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Austerity cuts to health and social care spending have been linked with almost 120,000 deaths in England by UCL research.

The study warns there could be an additional 100 deaths every day unless the Government provides a further £6.3bn each year for health and social care.

“Our study suggests that it may be beneficial to improve care delivered in care homes and at home to mitigate adverse health outcomes associated with spending constraints,” said study co-author, Dr Wulan Wulaningsih (UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science).

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The report highlights a 1.19% drop in social care funding between 2010 and 2014, a period that saw a 1.3% annual rise in NHS spending.

UCL revealed an average 0.87% rise in the number of deaths between 2011 and 2014. Austerity cuts were linked to an additional 45,368 mortalities between 2010 and 2014.

Most of these were among the over 60s and care home residents with a £10 drop in social care spend associated with five extra care home deaths per 100,000 of the population.

Nursing shortages were identified as the “critical factor” in extra mortalities. Numbers rose by just 0.07% between 2010 and 2014, or 20 times lower than in the prior decade.

The report estimates that an extra 152,141 people could die between 2015 and 2020 unless a further £25.3bn is made available.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “As the researchers themselves note, this study cannot be used to draw any firm conclusions about the cause of excess deaths.

“The NHS is treating more people than ever before and funding is at record levels with an £8bn increase by 2020-21. We’ve also backed adult social care with a £2bn investment, and we have 12,700 more doctors and 10,600 more nurses on our wards since May 2010.”

 

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