New analysis links 30,000 excess deaths in 2015 to cuts in health and social care

From the Royal Society of Medicine

Researchers exploring why there has been a substantial increase in mortality in England and Wales in 2015 conclude that failures in the health and social care system linked to disinvestment are likely to be the main cause.

There were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015, representing the largest increase in deaths in the post-war period. The excess deaths, which included a large spike in January that year, were largely in the older population who are most dependent on health and social care.

Reporting their analysis in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, tested four possible explanations for the January 2015 spike in mortality.

After ruling out data errors, cold weather and flu as main causes for the spike, the researchers found that NHS performance data revealed clear evidence of health system failures. Almost all targets were missed including ambulance call-out times and A&E waiting times, despite unexceptional A&E attendances compared to the same month in previous years. Staff absence rates rose and more posts remained empty as staff had not been appointed.

Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “The impact of cuts resulting from the imposition of austerity on the NHS has been profound. Expenditure has failed to keep pace with demand and the situation has been exacerbated by dramatic reductions in the welfare budget of £16.7 billion and in social care spending.”

He added: “With an aging population, the NHS is ever more dependent on a well-functioning social care system. Yet social care has also faced severe cuts, with a 17% decrease in spending for older people since 2009, while the number of people aged 85 years and over has increased by 9%.”

“To maintain current levels of social care would require an extra £1.1 billion, which the government has refused.”

Professor McKee continued: “The possibility that the cuts to health and social care are implicated in almost 30,000 excess deaths is one that needs further exploration. Given the relentless nature of the cuts, and potential link to rising mortality, we ask why is the search for a cause not being pursued with more urgency?”

“Simply reorganising and consolidating existing urgent care systems or raising the ‘agility’ of the current A&E workforce capacity is unlikely to be sufficient to meet the challenges that high levels of admissions of frail elderly people and others who are vulnerable are likely to present this winter and in future winters.”

The researchers say that there are already worrying signs of an increase in mortality in 2016. Without urgent intervention, they say, there must be concern that this trend will continue.

Commenting on the analysis, Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford, added: “It may sound obvious that more elderly people will have died earlier as a result of government cut backs, but to date the number of deaths has not been estimated and the government have not admitted responsibility.”

read more here: https://www.rsm.ac.uk/about-us/media-information/2017-media-releases/new-analysis-links-30000-excess-deaths-in-2015-to-cuts-in-health-and-social-care.aspx

Hard Brexit’ could see disabled people lose right to independent living, say peers

The process of exiting the European Union (EU) could worsen the social care crisis if the UK government does not protect access to personal assistants (PAs) from EU countries, disabled peers have warned.

They told a work and pensions minister that uncertainty over the “Brexit” negotiations with fellow EU members was leading to “terrible uncertainty” among the thousands of disabled people whose PAs are citizens of other EU countries.

read more here: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/11/hard-brexit-could-see-disabled-people-lose-right-to-independent-living-say-peers/

Shock figures show Tory plans are ‘making social care worse’ : Guardian. — DWPExamination.

Flagship scheme to keep elderly out of hospital missing targets and council tax rise ‘too small to alleviate cutbacks’ Tory MP Sarah Wollaston says ministers should act immediately to stop elderly people suffering. Photograph: Veryan Dale/Alamy The full extent of the crisis facing social care is revealed by an Observer investigation which demonstrates the […]

via Shock figures show Tory plans are ‘making social care worse’ : Guardian. — DWPExamination.

Home care crisis as more private companies quit: The elderly are being put at risk as firms abandon services, watchdog warns : Daily Mail. — DWPExamination.

The Care Quality Commission said more companies are pulling out of contracts This is because contracts with councils are no longer considered ‘profitable’ Crisis in social care funding means authorities can only pay firms very low rates Elderly residents are being put at risk because private firms are abandoning home care services, the watchdog has warned. […]

via Home care crisis as more private companies quit: The elderly are being put at risk as firms abandon services, watchdog warns : Daily Mail. — DWPExamination.

Cost of social care has rocketed over last year, analysis shows

Research by TrustedCare.co.uk reveals huge rise in costs yet number of services rated as good or outstanding has fallen

The cost of social care rocketed over the last year, even as the proportion of services ranked good or outstanding fell, according to a new analysis.

Social care services directory TrustedCare.co.uk found that the price of a week in a care home jumped by almost a quarter over the last year, from an average of £557.86 a week to £686.32, while the cost of a nursing home rose more than a third from £692.17 per week to £924.82. The price per hour of care visits also rose, from £15.01 to £17.02.

The analysis was based on data from providers registered on TrustedCare, as well as calls made by its researchers to more than 100 services in each English county over the last four months.

Social care in the UK is provided through a mixture of individuals and government payments. However, concerns are growing over the system’s ability to cope with an ageing population and pressures on local government and NHS budgets.

TrustedCare’s researchers also looked at data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates and monitors social care, and found a 9% drop in the proportion of services ranked as either good or outstanding from 88.9% in 2015 to 79.8% over the past year.

The data, which was first compiled by the website in 2015, also showed large variation between regions.

read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/05/cost-social-care-rocketed-last-year-analysis-shows-trusted?CMP=share_btn_tw