The Royal College of Nursing has responded to a new report from the Public Accounts Committee showing in increase in the number of older patients being forced to stay in hospital despite being clinically ready to go home.
The report shows a worrying decrease in nurses available in the community to support those who are discharged from hospital. The RCN is calling for urgent action to address this.
Dawne Garrett, RCN Professional Lead for Older People and Dementia said:
“It does nobody good to be in hospital longer than they need to. Older people benefit from being able to go home to their own surroundings and familiar routines as soon as possible after a spell in hospital.
“However, it is a cruel reality of the NHS that this is too often impossible, usually because services closer to home are under-resourced and easily overwhelmed.
“There are too few beds and staff available for people who are acutely ill, and demand on hospitals is rising fast. The NHS simply cannot afford to leave this problem unsolved.
“Nurses working in the community can help people manage their conditions at home, and prevent expensive and disruptive hospital admissions. Failing to invest in these services is costing too much, and causing too much distress, to be allowed to continue.”