Tories in Denial Over NHS Crisis

On 18 January, a Special Meeting of Cheshire East Council’s Health and Adult
Social Care Committee was held to discuss Delayed Discharges from Hospitals.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of the dire financial situation of
the local NHS hospitals and the local Clinical Commissioning Groups which
are ‘under direction’ from central government to balance their books.

There have been widespread reports of patients having to stay in hospital
longer than necessary because there is nowhere else for them to go. Cheshire
East Council has a responsibility for social care outside of hospitals. When
quizzed at the meeting on how Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOCs) had been
impacted by the lack of social care, Tory-controlled Cheshire East Council
denied that there was any problem! It was even stated that Macclesfield
Hospital had one of the lowest rates of DTOC in the country. This appears to
directly contradict the NHS figures which show 5% of all beds occupied by
patients who are medically fit for discharge.

When the closure of the council-run facilities at Hollins View and Lincoln
House were announced, the Tory Council Leader promised that high quality
respite care would be provided. The reality has proved very different, with
one local care home being closed following poor Care Quality Commission
reports. There appears to be a serious shortage of care home places that is
impacting on the ability of hospitals to discharge patients, but the Tories
simply deny that there is a problem whatever the facts suggest.

Unusually for a committee meeting there were no written reports available.

At the meeting Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South, also
asked about the STAIRRS project, that had been designed to help people going
home from hospital.

After the meeting Laura Jeuda said “I had heard that STAIRRS had been
dropped without notice, although not before it had managed to spend £1m.  I
asked whether STAIRRS had been dropped and I was promised a written reply to
my question, but to date I have heard nothing.”

Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East said, "I have been
hearing a number of distressing reports about the care, or lack of care,
being provided at some care homes, of how people are packed up with
incontinent pads at 6.00pm because there are not enough staff to take them
to the bathroom in the evening and during the night. I am grateful for the
work of Hollins View Watch, a group of people who had campaigned to keep the
high-quality council-run respite facilities open and who are now monitoring
the quality of care being provided in the private sector. I have heard
reports of a ‘special respite ward’ in one care home which had been opened
to cater solely for people needing respite care.  This closed after a matter
of weeks because the care home were unable to find staff. But still the
Tories simply deny that there is a problem and claim it is just a handful of
cases.”

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