If I were advising Liz Truss, I’d tell her she needs to tackle the bed blocking scandal which is costing the country £5.5 million a day – which she’ll only do by bridging the gap between health and social care. There are hundreds of stories of patients waiting 40 hours for an ambulance after a serious fall and almost 10-minute waits for people in cardiac arrest.
Ambulance crews queued up outside hospitals has caused concern for the general public who expect to have a health service to be there for them when they need it.
The common link to these stories is the availability of beds in NHS hospitals.
Medically fit patients are stuck waiting to be discharged somewhere they can recover safely.
Most of that delay comes down to the waiting lists for care assessments, whereby occupational therapists or social workers check that someone leaving hospital has a safe environment in which to recover and which won’t put them at risk of further injury. Patients recover better in a familiar environment but that doesn’t negate the need for help on hand should they need it.
The key question on everyone’s mind is, what is being done about it?
There is proven technology (available for more than 15 years) which can bridge the gap which exists between health and social care, alleviating some strain on the NHS.
Technology that won’t take jobs from social care but instead, enable the personalized care that this Government wants to deliver.
While my background is in technology, my 74-year-old mother is a carer and I see the burden our broken system places on carers and their patients.
We are inadvertently encouraging our aging population to stay locked in their homes and wait for a 15-minute visit twice a day; the effect of which can be detrimental both physically and mentally.
We need smarter systems in place which not only help people get back into their own homes more quickly, freeing up bed spaces for the 90-year-old grandmother who is waiting on a trolley, but which can KEEP people independent and healthier for longer with a safety net in place for when they need it.
Technology that keeps carers and families informed and able to provide aid when it is needed.
We need an attitude change. We need to realize the importance of a social care system which delivers the best results for staff and patients.
We need to help people help themselves and be like the care home resident I know who still trains a youth football team or the dementia sufferer who still walks his dog twice a day.
Just because someone is past 65 doesn’t mean we throw them on the scrap heap and treat them like an invalid.
We’re wasting huge potential by not changing the way the system works and unless we do it will break.
Let’s bridge this gap between health and social care.
- Mario Zuccaro is the CEO of the Care Tech company Oysta.