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NHS winter crisis will put older people at risk

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Key national health and social care representatives have expressed concerns about an impending NHS winter crisis and the risks it could pose for older people.

Poor weather and seasonal health conditions make winter particularly challenging for older people. As a result, the NHS typically sees an annual spike in hospital admissions during the winter months.

However, additional pressure on health and social care resources extend waiting times. It also increases the potential for errors to be made in terms of both healthcare provision and hospital discharge processes.

What do we know about the potential NHS winter crisis?

Hospital services are already strained, according to new NHS data.

Over 400,000 people waited longer than 18 weeks (the official target) for non-urgent treatment during August, representing the highest monthly total since September 2008.

Hospitals need to free up 2,000 beds each in preparation for the NHS winter crisis. Councils are also under threat of funding cuts should bed-blocking rates not decrease.

Key national health and social care leaders have come forward to express their concerns:

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul: British Medical Association Chairman

“Staff across the NHS are gearing up again for the busy winter period and will remember the stress of enduring the worst winter on record last year, with patients facing unacceptable delays for care.

“We don’t want to see a repeat of that this year, which is why it’s vital the entire health system is supported and working well – from our GP surgeries, to hospital wards, to social care." (The Independent)

Andrea Sutcliffe: Care Quality Commission Chief Inspector

“If people focus just on moving people through the system quickly, then does that mean that they will force the discharge of somebody that is old and frail into a service which we have rated ‘inadequate’, which would put them at risk potentially?” (The Telegraph)

Rachel Power: Patients Association Chief Executive

“The answers to these problems are well known: we need much better care to keep people well in the community and reduce the need for hospital admissions.

"This means better services for older people with long-term conditions ... The drive to tackle this started far too late, and remains inadequately funded.” (Patients Association)

How live-in care can help

At The Good Care Group, we reduce admissions through initiatives such as our Falls Management Programme, which achieved a 97% reduction in falls among clients.

We can also assist your loved one in managing their medication, and ensure they're up-to-date with their flu and any other necessary vaccinations.

If your loved one is already in hospital or is admitted for any reason, out team will work tirelessly to make sure their home is a welcoming environment that's fully stocked for their return.

Our medically-trained carers will then be on hand to help your loved one with any ongoing physiotherapy, dietary requirements or other forms of treatment.

Our commitment to these standards has enabled us to achieve an 'Outstanding' Care Quality Commission rating, placing us among the top 2% of all UK care providers.

Find out how live-in care reduces the risk of hospital admission and improves discharge aftercare by speaking to the friendly team at The Good Care Group.

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