Latest Public Sector News

30.09.16

Carers ‘reluctantly having to turn to A&E’ due to lack of support

A lack of community support is leading to carers increasingly taking loved ones to A&E for treatment, heaping further pressure on NHS services, according to a new report.

A survey by Carers UK found that 9% of carers said they had used A&E or 999 services when a loved one was ill because they didn’t know where else to turn for advice, and 18% had done so because they couldn’t get a district nurse or GP out of hours.

Of those who had a friend or family member admitted to hospital, 32% said they thought this could have been prevented if they’d had more support as a carer. This rose to 40% among ‘sandwich’ carers with responsibility for children as well as an older relative.

Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “The majority of care provided in England is not by doctors, nurses or care workers, but by family and friends. These carers have told us that they aren’t able access the support they need, when they need it, from community health and care services, so they are reluctantly having to turn to A&E.”

The government passed the Care Act 2014 to give carers new rights, including a legal assessment of their needs.

However, 65% of carers have not received the assessment, and 55% of local authorities have cut their social care spending since it was passed.

Social care as a whole is beset by severe financial problems, with a recent report from the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust warning that responsibility for funding care may pass to individuals and their families altogether in the future.

A report from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), also published this week, found that a lack of social care resources is contributing to high levels of delayed discharge for elderly patients and lack of follow-up care when they left hospital.

In the Carers UK survey, 26% of respondents were not consulted when their friend or relative was discharged from hospital and 33% were only consulted at the last minute.

Among those who were not consulted, 79% said they felt their loved one was discharged too early, whereas 65% of those who were consulted said the discharge had happened at the right time.

Carers UK said the government should “substantially” increase social care funding. It also recommended ‘stress testing’ the developing sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) from a carer’s perspective.

In addition, it said local authorities should work with NHS trusts and CCGs to develop integrated discharge policies and provided carers with training in what to do in emergencies.

Cllr Linda Thomas, vice chair of the LGA community wellbeing board, said supporting unpaid carers was “vitally important” to local government, adding “without them, social care and the NHS would collapse”.

However, she added: “Getting people out of hospital more quickly and back living at home will only work properly if councils get enough resources throughout the whole year to fund adequate provision of care services.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Support for councils following Grenfell

04/09/2017Support for councils following Grenfell

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), discusses the wider ... more >
A quiet revolution

04/09/2017A quiet revolution

Dermot Ryan, programme director at NHS Digital for the Health and Social Ca... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Bus... more >

the raven's daily blog

Tower Hamlets taking steps to reverse the decline of LGBT+ venues

16/10/2017Tower Hamlets taking steps to reverse the decline of LGBT+ venues

Tower Hamlets council has recently confirmed that the former site of a popular gay bar, the Joiners Arms, must include an LGBT+ club for the next 25 years. Many people wi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides a fascinating analysis of the campaign, and assesses the aftermath of the election on pages 26-28. It is a must-read article.  During the... read more >