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'Red top' report makes me see red (again)

Blog post 19 June  2017

I seldom read the ‘red tops’, but at the risk of raising my blood pressure braved an online dip into the Mirror. Big mistake.

Within minutes I was tense and then . . . angry. In fairness, it wasn’t the fault of the Mirror, but the facts in the report. Here we go: NHS paying private firms millions to beat bed blocking after social care cuts’.

What firms, where? Is social care getting a cut of the cake? Sorry, I have no answers and neither did the piece I read.

I had hoped for a brighter horizon post election, but the same stories emerge yet again.

The NHS Partners Network document talks of a private hospital ringfencing beds for patients from an NHS hospital, adding: “What began as an emergency arrangement is being developed into a more permanent option.”

I began to crave chocolate (bad sign) when I read there had been a 110 per cent rise in patients waiting for a care package at a nursing home since 2010.”

The NHS Partners Network, an association of private firms, insists using their services will save the NHS cash.

The report by the NHS Partners Network, the trade association for private firms providing NHS services, adds: "The independent sector has been working with the NHS to help reduce delayed discharge through providing access to community care, extra bed capacity, step down units, virtual wards and rehabilitation services for those who need it."

Am I missing something here? A Government – indeed, successive Governments – have cynically chosen to underfund social care. Net result – more pressure on those same social care providers to help ease the problem, but no extra finance to do so.

My growing concern is that the inconclusive General Election will cause social care reforms to stall. I know local authorities will be exerting pressure. but . . .

Delayed transfers of care are a growing problem across the NHS, leaving NHS patients in hospital longer than clinically necessary and also costing the NHS upwards of £820million a year.

Mrs May, Emergency arrangements appear to be the ‘permanent option.’ Is this the reform we’re seeking? Surely not.