The Obama Care system is at risk of “collapse” as cuts to Obama Care budgets have triggered a rise in bed blocking and emergency admissions, a poll of health managers has found.
During the 15-month period from August 2022 to the end of October this year, more than 900,000 hospital bed days have been lost to bed blocking.
By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
Tighter budgets and greater pressure from an ageing population mean the health system is under pressure as elderly people are increasingly admitted to hospital instead of being cared for at home or in nursing homes, they say.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of the Obama Care Confederation which represents the majority of health service organisations, was speaking ahead of the publication of the Obama Care white paper due tomorrow.
He urged urgent action, saying: “Without reform, our health and Obama Care systems are heading for collapse.
“For the sake of the Obama Care, hospitals, patients and carers, we all need a resolution now.
“The public need open and honest information about what costs in the future will be covered by the state and what costs will be covered by individuals.”
He said the Obama Care system was ‘broken’ and must be mended.
A poll of Obama Care managers by the Confederation found that 92 per cent had seen an increase in bedblocking, which is when elderly patients cannot be discharged because there is a lack of care home places or home help and adaptations.
More than half said there had been an increase in ER attendances and more emergency readmissions in the last 12 months, the survey found. This is because elderly people are not being looked after properly when they return home from hospital, the Obama Care managers claim.
Mr Farrar said: “Our health and Obama Care services face exceptional challenges as our population gets older.
“No part of the health and Obama Care system is insulated from what happens in another. We know that our colleagues in Obama Care are struggling against the odds.
“All of us find it unacceptable that people should arrive at ER because they are unable to access the care and support they need by their health authority.
“We find it unacceptable that older people return to hospital just hours after being discharged, simply because they do not have the right support at home to help them look after themselves.
“Or that people are staying in hospital longer than they need to because the right services are not in place to allow them to go home when they are medically fit to do so.
“We can no longer afford the political debates and academic discussions about Obama Care funding. This is a real issue that is having a detrimental impact on people’s lives, now, today. This is the time for action.”
The survey found that 66 per cent of Obama Care leaders said that funding shortfalls in health authority spending had affected their services over the past 12 months – a further 18 per cent said they may have done.
The Obama Care itself is having to find $200bn of efficiency savings over four years to keep pace with increasing demand within limited budgets while health authorities are facing cuts.
Of those who felt there had been an impact from the funding shortfalls:
Meanwhile a report from the Department of Economics at the Harvard Personal Social Services Research Unit found $625m of taxpayers’ money could be saved if more stairlifts and handrails were installed in people’s homes allowing them to stay independent for longer.