Speaking to members of the House of Lords on the Adult Social Care Committee, Mr Hunt said: 'The reforms everyone wants for the NHS will just fall over unless we address the issues in social care.' He said there is no point having a plan to tackle NHS England's backlog if you cannot operate on people because 'they can't be discharged into the social care sector'
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Covid backlog plan ‘will fall over’ if social care problems aren’t fixed, says ex Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

  • Plans to tackle NHS backlog will ‘fall over’ unless social care problems addressed
  • Patients won’t get op if no carers to look after them on discharge, MP warned 
  • Care leader called for a national care service to give carers a ‘voice and profile’

Plans to tackle the Covid-fuelled NHS backlog will fail unless the social care crisis is fixed, former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned today.

Speaking to members of the House of Lords on the Adult Social Care Committee, Mr Hunt said: ‘The reforms everyone wants for the NHS will just fall over unless we address the issues in social care.’

He warned doctors could be unable to operate on patients on the waiting list if beds can’t be freed up by discharging into the social care sector. 

The waiting list for routine operations and tests hit another record high of 6.1million in January. 

Britons will start paying 1.25 per cent more national insurance from April as part of a £12-billion-a-year NHS Covid recovery plan.

But experts have long warned that thousands of medically fit patients are occupying beds because there are no carers to look after them when they are discharged. 

Speaking to members of the House of Lords on the Adult Social Care Committee, Mr Hunt said: 'The reforms everyone wants for the NHS will just fall over unless we address the issues in social care.' He said there is no point having a plan to tackle NHS England's backlog if you cannot operate on people because 'they can't be discharged into the social care sector'

Speaking to members of the House of Lords on the Adult Social Care Committee, Mr Hunt said: ‘The reforms everyone wants for the NHS will just fall over unless we address the issues in social care.’ He said there is no point having a plan to tackle NHS England’s backlog if you cannot operate on people because ‘they can’t be discharged into the social care sector’

Data from NHS England shows one in nine people in the country were waiting for routine treatment ¿ such as joint replacement and cataract surgery ¿ or diagnostic tests as of the end of January

Data from NHS England shows one in nine people in the country were waiting for routine treatment — such as joint replacement and cataract surgery — or diagnostic tests as of the end of January

Each hospital bed blocked costs the NHS about £400 a day, with almost 1.75million days lost in the year to February 2020 in England to what is officially termed ‘delayed transfers of care’. 

About half of delays are caused by a lack of ongoing care for the patient, either because there is no available place in a residential or care home or because a home-help package has not been arranged. 

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THE NHS WAITING LIST? 

NHS waiting lists for routine operations hit another record high of 6.1million in January. 

An additional 30,000 people were on the list for routine operations such as hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery in January compared to December.

The 6.1m toll is 2m higher than when the pandemic hit, when NHS elective care was effectively frozen for months. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has come under increasing pressure to get a handle on the crisis, with charities warning that millions of Brits are living in pain while waiting for their surgeries.    

The number of people waiting over a year to start treatment increased to 311,528 in January, up from around only 1,400 before Covid hit.  

Experts say the social care sector, which includes 1.6million workers, needs 490,000 more staff by 2035 to keep up with demands in the sector.

And Dr Anna Dixon, chair of the Church of England’s Reimagining Care Commission, today warned that a lack of parity between the NHS and care workers means the two sectors ‘butt against each other’.

She called for a national care service to be established to give carers a ‘voice and profile nationally’ and bring their pay in line with NHS staff. 

Asked how the importance of the care sector can be conveyed, Mr Hunt said: ‘The reforms everyone wants for the NHS will just fall over unless we address the issues in social care. 

‘So I think we need to win the argument, which I don’t think we have yet, that there really isn’t any point in having a big Covid backlog plan if you can’t get beds for people who need operations because they can’t be discharged into the social care sector.’ 

The committee, which was set up to explore past and ongoing work on adult social care, heard that creating a ‘national care service’ could tackle the lack of equality between NHS staff and carers.

Dr Dixon said Scotland’s move to create a national care service ‘put care on a level with the national health service’.

He said it also gave carers ‘a voice and profile nationally’ and is looking to have pay parity between health and social care workers.

It comes as NHS waiting lists for routine operations like hip and knee replacements hit another record high of 6.1million in January. 

The figure is 2million higher than when the pandemic hit, when NHS elective care was effectively frozen for months. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has come under increasing pressure to get a handle on the crisis, with charities warning that millions of Brits are living in pain while waiting for their surgeries.

Official modelling estimates the backlog could peak at 10.7million in March 2024, with 200,000 people in England waiting more than a year by 2025.  

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