Thursday, 26 May 2016
What a disgrace. The NAO reports that the cost to the NHS of keeping frail elderly people in hospital when the no longer need to be there is 800m. But let's not forget there is a greater cost - that of the health of those people. We all know that hospital is the last place you should be if you are not sick. For older people this is serious. People who stay too long in hospital emerge with muscle wastage and malnutrition. I'm afraid that in many cases the standards of care on elderly wards is poor. And sometimes shockingly bad.
We have heard a lot about the NHS financial crisis. So why on earth is no one in No 10 or DH or NHS England looking at the plans that ACEVO developed with the RVS, Red Cross and Age UK to work in casualty and on wards to support medical staff in ensuring frail elderly people don't get admitted to a bed when they could be supported to go home and when they are on a ward, working to get them back into their home or in a care home.
There are schemes in existence that do that. Talk to the Red Cross. Talk to RVS about what they do.
I gave the PM a plan for this over 2 years ago. It didn't happen. Then in the political uncertainties of a winter crisis before an election we had a pilot scheme , brokered by the Cabinet Office and part funded through OCS. It was a success.
But winter crisis came and went. And so did the imperative behind using the success here to roll out a national programme. I'm going to write to the PM again to offer the support of our great charity tradition in helping sort this problem.