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Bed-Blocking Up 300 Per Cent

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


New analysis by union reveals huge numbers trapped in hospital due to lack of home care.

The number of ‘bed-blocking’ patients has risen by a staggering 300 per cent since 2010, new analysis by GMB reveals.

Those who are acutely ill, but trapped in hospital because there is no social care package to ensure they are looked after at home, has rocketed by 67 per cent in the last year alone.

The disturbing rise is due to cuts in social care funding, which are set to push the NHS to the brink of disaster during the busy Christmas period, GMB says.

Health services will soon be unable to cope without a drastic increase in social care funding, the union warns.

According to GMB analysis of the latest Government stats, the number of acutely ill patients whose discharge from hospital was delayed until a home social care package could be put in place rose by staggering 300% since 2010, a 67% increase on last year alone.

And the number of days wasted at the end of October because of a lack of residential or nursing home spaces had doubled compared to 2010.

However the Government quietly admitted this week that the number of available residential and nursing home beds has fallen since 2010. [1]

The number of residential home beds actually fell by 7%.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said:

“These disgraceful figures are damning indictment of how this Tory Government has abused our social care system – and the entire NHS.

“Without enough money to make sure people can be looked after at home, or in residential care homes where appropriate, it’s not surprising things are creaking to a halt.

“This Government needs to give the country the greatest Christmas present we could all wish for – a properly funded NHS to look after us in our hour of need.”


Notes for editors 

Contact: Rehana Azam on 07841 181656 or at

All patient delay figures are taken from the GMB’s analysis of the NHS’s Delayed Transfers of Care Data series October 2016 edition (the latest date for which figures are available), published 08 December 2016:

Figures are compared to the equivalent October figures for each preceding year

[1] Figures for available care and nursing home beds were published by the Department of Health in response to a Parliamentary Written Question on 12 December 2016:


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