A House of Commons Health Committee report has called on the government to “urgently” address the underfunding of adult social care.
The Winter pressure in accident and emergency departments report says inadequate adult social care is contributing to pressure on A&E departments.
The report states: “We conclude that additional investment in community step-up/step-down beds and adult social care is essential to addressing the widespread pressure on A&E.
“Emergency departments do no exit in isolation and their performance will be supported by investing in services that can prevent admission via A&E and allow swift and safe discharge from hospital.”
Discharge delays due to social care rose by 144,000 (34.1%) to 565,000 in 2015-16 compared with the previous year. Social care accounted for 31.2% of discharge delays in the year.
The report notes that delays due to social care had been relatively stable until February 2015 when they began to steadily increase.
Delays as a result of social care soared by 80% in July 2016 on the same month in the previous year.
The report says: “It is an indictment of the existing state of adult social care provision that some acute trusts are having to establish domiciliary care services in order to improve patient flow through their hospital and ease pressure on their emergency departments.”