Regarding your article about patients stuck in the hospital, I was cured in three weeks, but I was not released for 16 (Up to one in three English hospital beds occupied by dischargeable patients, 13 November). After three weeks, the nurses who had seen me when I needed to be taken care of had to spend 10 minutes every day chatting and checking on me to make sure I didn’t get depressed. Add in other patients in the same position and this takes up a significant portion of the grueling 12 hour shifts that most of these overworked, underpaid and dedicated people have to work.
Feeding me and changing my bedding when I could have done it at home was another unnecessary cost to the National Health Service. I couldn’t be discharged because there were no caregivers available for weeks to check that I was managing independently. It was. Also, the caretakers were so poorly paid that most of the ones I saw had to take other jobs to make ends meet. I wonder how many of this Tory cabinet (if any) rely solely on the NHS for their healthcare.
Our family has benefited from caring for our adult son who has a disability and is in a wheelchair. They help us get him up every morning and get him ready for bed every night. We see their work up close and find them very hard-working, professional and unfailingly cheerful. They have also become members of our family and good friends of our son. They deserve better rewards.
The agencies that employ them will only win contracts by keeping costs to a minimum, a large part of which is salaries. It seems so obvious that if they were paid more, additional staff could be hired and hospital beds could be freed up. I realize more nursing home places would be needed, but what happened to all the local authority residences that disappeared because the “private sector” would provide them?
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It used to be the norm for local community hospitals to provide a “step-down” function for acute hospitals, a place where recovering patients could move to immediately after treatment as they prepared for their return to normal life. But the official guidance no longer highlights this as a pathway for discharged patients.
Also, in recent years, NHS England and its cohorts locally have been closing beds in community hospitals, despite local resistance in places like here in the far west of Cornwall; we had two community hospitals and now we have lost both. Certainly, local social care services are under great pressure. But the real scandal is the lack of joint thinking in the NHS.
doctor pedro levin
Health Surveillance in West Cornwall
For too long, the most attention-grabbing social care solution has been to protect seniors’ assets, primarily the value of a home they will no longer live in, so that inheritances can continue to grow in line with the distorted real estate market. . Meanwhile, the social care sector is on its knees, local authorities unable to pay fees, care providers unable to recruit and retain sufficient staff, and hospitals providing room and board instead of medical care.
The case for creating a national care service has never been stronger, and if there is no clear commitment to address this as a top priority, the impact on health services will be even greater.