NHS England has released data showing that there were 19,500 delayed discharges from hospitals in April because people were waiting for care packages to be agreed by care homes or domiciliary care providers.
The number is almost 50% higher than the same month in 2015.
Harold Bodmer, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said that the squeeze on local authority funding for care is creating a log jam for hospitals that ultimately costs tax payers more money.
“The Personal Budgets in Social Care report issued by the Public Accounts Committee highlighted the impact of funding reductions on the care market, and these figures only serve to reinforce these concerns. Despite councils doing everything they can to protect adult social care budgets and look after the needs of their communities, more patients have now experienced a delay in leaving hospital because of social care reasons than in any other month since figures started being collated in this way,” he said.
“The fact that there were 19,500 delayed days in April because people were waiting for care packages in their own home – an increase of almost a half on one year earlier – is a matter of enormous concern. More than three quarters of councils experienced some kind of social care provider failure last year, and as the full impact of the introduction of the National Living Wage is felt, we will only see more services put at risk.
“ADASS has made the sustainability of the home care sector one of its priorities in light of the fragility of the care market and people’s future needs, but unless the Government addresses the chronic underfunding of social care – and quickly – many services are at significant risk over the next couple of years, and this will have worrying consequences for older and disabled people, their families and carers,” Mr Bodmer concluded.