The effects of austerity have led to hospitals being the only places capable of providing round-the-clock care for elderly people according to a senior NHS official.
Public spending cuts are a major concern and the NHS had a higher number of elderly patients in need of urgent care than they had expected last winter. According to the NHS Wales’ deputy chief executive Kevin Flynn the cuts have rendered the social care system unworkable.
Flynn voiced his belief that the deep-rooted problems in the set-up and the reduced spending have created a situation in which vital and thorough care for the elderly in a residential home or in their own home is difficult to ensure.
He said: “The difficulty is that with austerity across everywhere at the moment inevitably the only system that will take them, that is 24/7, is the ambulance and hospital system.
“So it’s a systematic problem of where these people end up. At any point prior to that, within various systems, we could have probably intervened to the stage where they didn’t get to hospital.
“The challenge of unscheduled care is how do we ensure that those things are happening, and it’s not just a health issue, it’s a social issue – how do we look after neighbours and so on?”