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Fresh calls to examine social care funding

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An increasing number of pensioners are avoiding leaving hospital because of fears about the spiralling cost of care home fees.

Figures published this month show that a growing number of elderly people are refusing to be discharged, even though they are medically fit to leave.

According to the new statistics, so-called “bedblocking” cases have risen by 15 per cent.

And it’s thought that the problem has been exacerbated by the Government’s decision last year to delay introducing a cap on care home fees.

Saga, the older people’s pressure group, voiced its anger that many pensioners were being left “imprisoned” on hospital wards because adequate provision had not been made to fund social care.

MP Sarah Woollaston said: “We can’t see social care and NHS funding in isolation, we need to have a review of how we fund the whole system so that we can deal with this problem.

“The increasing problem is that the rate of remuneration to social care providers doesn’t sufficiently meet the costs.

“There isn’t anyone available to provide the care so even if you want to pay for it you find it’s difficult to find someone who is providing social care in your area. This is a worsening problem and a problem both for social care but also the NHS.”