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Social care cuts feed back into NHS crisis

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Issue 2526
Care workers on strike in Doncaster in 2014
Care workers on strike in Doncaster in 2014 (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Adult social care services in England are at “tipping point”, according to the Care Quality Commission watchdog.

Its annual report found that 49 percent of adult social care services rated as “requires improvement” had not improved.

A further 8 percent of services were downgraded to “inadequate”.

The Tories’ assault on council budgets has decimated services. This has seen the number of people receiving council-funded social care fall from 1.1 million in 2009 to 850,000 in 2013-14.

The number without access to care has shot up to over 1 million last year from 800,000 in 2010.

This has a double impact on the NHS.

It forces more people to seek help in hospitals, driving a 3 percent rise in admissions last year.

It also means hospitals find it harder to discharge patients.

This crisis will only get worse as the NHS faces further pressures in the winter months. We need a fightback to defend the NHS.

Figure it out

  • 26% fewer people get social care funded by their council than in 2009
  • 70% more bed days are lost in the NHS as a result
  • 49% of social care services needed improvements and didn’t make them

Norwich protest against ward’s closure

Around 100 people marched through Norwich last Saturday against a hospital ward closure.

Managers plan to shut the Henderson Unit at the Julian Hospital, with the loss of 24 beds. They claim that it’s necessary to “save” around £2 million for the local NHS trust—only a small proportion of £30 million of cuts demanded.

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, slammed the closure as “short-sighted” and “symptomatic” of bigger problems in the NHS.

“The unit was going to help with bed-blocking that we know we will experience through winter,” he said.

The protest was organised by the NHS Norfolk Action Group.

Meanwhile, hundreds also marched in support of the NHS in Bristol last Thursday. The People’s Assembly had originally called the demo to support the junior doctors.

Thanks to Tim Knight-Hughes

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