The headline in the London Times this past week states “NHS crisis deepens as bed blocking costs 6 billion pounds”
With social services, nursing homes and families failing to supply adequate care, it has been estimated that greater than 6 thousand elderly people are trapped in hospital beds each month without medical cause- just disposition.An 80% shortage of appropriate care elsewhere is keeping people in hospital beds over the last 5 years, with 71,500 people being delayed from transfer after treatment.
Hospitals are in crisis mode with 6105 people staying despite being well enough for discharge. A national shortage of emergency doctors in the Midlands is prompting temporary hospital closings.
Cancer care and ambulance response is missing its mark at response times as well.
The chairman of the British Medical Association, Mark Porter, points out:
“We can only get to grips with pressure on A&Es if every part of the system- from our GP surgeries, to hospitals, to community care- is fully supported and working well, and this includes addressing the shortage of A&E staff”. “Frontline services continue to come under intense pressure”.
Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, a nonprofit home healthcare company, says, “My heart sinks every time I hear about a rise in the number of delayed transfers of care. It doesn’t have to be this way.
As it stands, the bed-blocking crisis is pushing the NHS in England to a breaking point unless coordination between social care sectors and healthcare improves.
Obama and those in the American administration who have been in a state of admiration for the NHS and how are healthcare system should be modeled after it, should take a lesson here.
With the “graying of America” and the aging of the population, it is imperative that patients are not thrown out onto the streets or sent to homes where family members are ill equipped to handle chronically ill individuals.
We need to make sure that our social services system which has been known to be overworked and underfunded, needs to step up to the plate and take responsibility for disposition of treated patients. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in a worse situation than the one faced by the NHS. After all, a hefty tax for healthcare is keeping the system going, one that we do not have here in the States.
What is your opinion about the situation? Do you feel that we are doing an adequate job or do you have recommendations about how we can improve and avoid the problem that the hospitals in England are now facing? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.