Hospitals bear burden of budget cuts

RCN warns that cuts to social care budgets put extra pressure on over-stretched services.

Cuts to social care budgets are ‘devastating for individuals’ and putting ‘more pressure on already over-stretched health services,' the RCN has said.

Responding to the latest quarterly report by the King’s Fund, RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘Cutting these budgets is a false economy as patients who could be better and more comfortably treated elsewhere end up in hospitals.

‘It is no surprise that managers are once again reporting staff morale is their biggest concern.’

The King’s Fund found cuts to social care budgets are adversely affecting at least eight in ten NHS trust finance directors and clinical commissioning group finance leads.

Its findings are reinforced by NHS performance data which show that more than 5,000 patients experienced hospital discharge delays at the end of August – the highest level at this time of year since 2007. Nearly a third of these delays were caused by problems accessing social care services – an increase of 21% on last year.

King's Fund chief economist John Appleby said: ‘The NHS faces a toxic mix of widespread deficits, rising waiting times and low morale.’ He called on the government to use its forthcoming Spending Review to protect social care from further cuts.

Alzheimer’s Society head of policy George McNamara said: ‘If threadbare adult social care services are cut further, many essential care and support services for people with dementia will be rationed out of existence.’

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