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The King’s Fund comments on the Health Select Committee’s Winter Pressures in Accident and Emergency report

Richard Humphries, Assistant Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, commented on the Health Select Committee’s Winter Pressures in Accident and Emergency Departments report

'We welcome the Health Select Committee’s report which highlights the increasing pressures on A&E services.

'Demand is increasing and the numbers of patients medically fit to be discharged but still in hospital has reached record levels. This increase has mainly been driven by delays in arranging social care for people who need support when they leave hospital, a direct result of year after year of cuts in social care funding. As well as unnecessarily occupying beds for patients who need them, this is taking a huge toll on the older people affected, their families and carers and the cost of delayed discharge for older people is over £800 million a year.

'The top priority for the Autumn Statement later this month must be to increase funding for social care. It defies all sense and reason that social care spending will slip back to less than one per cent of GDP by the end of the parliament when the number of older and disabled people is increasing and pressures on other parts of the system are rising.

'We also need a shift in the way that services are provided towards primary and community health services so that people don’t end up in A&E in the first place. While this report once again highlights the huge pressures facing the health and care system, it should also be a wake-up call for local services to work together to improve performance.'

Notes to editors: 

The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact The King’s Fund Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

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