by Sophie Coles
Ambulance service in crisis

Every day in September, nearly 400 patients and crews waited for more than three hours outside a hospital in England. According to data from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, so far in 2022 alone, ambulances have spent more than a million hours waiting outside A&E to hand over patients.

More than one Health Secretary in recent months has claimed to want to prioritise the ambulance crisis but this particular crisis is not happening in isolation. Rather, it is part of the much larger challenge facing the NHS and social care sector.

Bed blocking fuelling crisis

In August, figures reveal that 758 patients waited on trolleys for more than 12 hours at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust sites. In the same month, over 40% of North Bristol NHS Trust’s beds were occupied by patients who had nowhere to go. More than one in seven hospital beds are currently occupied by patients declared well enough to go home but rates soar to as high as one in three in some hospitals. Patients can spend up to nine months on wards, waiting for care to be organised for them.

The lack of care beds and homecare packages is leading to this all too familiar phenomenon of ‘bed blocking’, fuelled by a chronic lack of care places, which in turn is slowing down delivery of medical treatments to other patients.

Shrinking workforce in care sector

The social care workforce continues to shrink, against a backdrop of rising demand. The predictions just of the increase in the number of people living with dementia make terrifying reading, expected to hit over 1.5 million within twenty years. Who is going to care for them, never mind the multitude of other people with complex needs who will require care. England alone will need close to half a million more care staff by 2035.

According to Skills for Care’s report, ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’, an annual analysis of the adult social care workforce in England and the characteristics of the people working within it, there are currently 165,000 care vacancies, an increase of more than 50% since last October.

Every day on the news we see the impacts of bed blocking, ambulance delays, carer shortages, unmet community care needs and even horrific stories of preventable deaths. Without urgent action, even further challenges will be faced by Local Authorities and the NHS through this winter and beyond.

C.Co is here to help

Our Maximising Proportionate Care approach addresses these challenges and many more. We have first-hand experience of its delivery and seeing unmet demand managed. Find out more about our Maximising Proportionate Care programme here.

Speak to us to find out more and look out for further blogs coming shortly on the importance of tackling the social care crisis in a truly integrated way and how we manage the ever-increasing demands coming our way together.