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GMB Welcomes Care Regulator Report

Friday, October 14, 2016

GMB Welcomes Care Regulator Report Confirming Social Care Cuts As Cause Of Bed Blocking

New GMB analysis shows bed blocking has increased by 40% in five years as union warns of mounting care crisis

GMB, the union for health and care workers, has welcomed the Care Quality Commission’s annual report confirming that government cuts to social care have caused record levels of bed blocking and struggling A&E units across England.

Bed blocking – when otherwise healthy patients are forced to take up scarce hospital beds because there aren’t enough care home places – has been on the rise for a number of years.

New GMB analysis of bed blocking figures released for the period between 2010/11 and 2015/16 shows that the number of days lost to bed blocking has increased by over 40% over the five period to a total of 602,431 days.

The North West of England has seen an increase of over 100% – a total of 145,054 days –while the South West and East of England saw increases of 58% and 63% respectively. The North East of England was the only region to see a decrease in the number of days lost to bed blocking over the period (See notes to editors for a regional breakdown).

A Respublica report in March showed that hospitals were under increasing strain in terms of capacity and finance with the NHS wasting £3.3 billion by 2020/21 caring for patients who no longer needed medical treatment.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said:

“This report confirms what GMB has been saying for two years - underfunding and cuts to social care are directly responsible for bed-blocking. The avoidable unnecessary strain on NHS hospitals are sweeping the length and breadth of the country. Failure by government to adequately fund community care, the support older people need in their own homes or care homes is a badge of national shame and frankly a stupid waste of taxpayer money.

“As GMB has warned again and again, failing to adequately fund social care places a millstone round the neck of the NHS. Sadly that is exactly what is happening now as care beds are lost and the NHS is forced to step in as lender of last resort. It is quite simply penny wise and pound foolish.

"The Government must act now if it is to diffuse this ticking time bomb and give our older people and vulnerable people the care and the dignity they deserve."


Contact: Rehana Azam on 07841 181656 or GMB press office at or 07958 156846

Notes to editors

1 Regional breakdown of number of delayed days for NHS organisations in England




Number of Delayed Days for NHS Organisations in England





















North West





South East





South West





East of England










East Midlands





Yorkshire and The Humber





West Midlands





North East






2 Tuesday, March 1, 2016

GMB Welcome Independent Report Setting Out How Over £3 Billion Wasted By Nhs On Bed Blocking Should Be Used To Solve Residential Care Crisis

The residential care sector is willing and ready to help with the bed blocking crisis in the NHS says GMB.

GMB, the union for care workers, welcome the report, ‘Care after Cure: Creating a fast track pathway from hospitals to homes’ released today, (1 March 2016) by ResPublica, an independent non-partisan think tank.

The report shows that hospitals are under increasing strain in terms of capacity and finance with the NHS wasting £3.3 billion by 2020/21 caring for patients who no longer need medical treatment. This money would be better spent on a ‘Fast Track Discharge Fund’ to move vulnerable older people into the care of residential care homes.

Between 2011/12 and 2015/16 there was a 21% rise in the number of hospital beds continually ‘blocked’ due to delayed transfer of care, from 3,575 to 4,282. The report forecasts this figure could rise to 5,300 by 2010/21.

The Fast Track Discharge Fund would free up thousands of hospital beds by reducing delays with residential care homes bridging the gap by looking after recuperating patients. A pdf copy of the report and the ResPublica press release is set out at the foot of this release.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer for the care sector said "The crippling costs to the NHS of bed blocking prove that there is no place for austerity in the funding of social care - to do so is morally indefensible and financially stupid.

The future of the NHS is intertwined with the fate of social care; as government underfunding sends social care down the pan, so the NHS is dragged with it: bed blocking rises, we spend money we don't need to spend keeping people in hospital who shouldn't be there and, to cap it all, make many of them sicker by doing so.

Proper investment now in the residential care sector, which is willing and ready to help with the bed blocking crisis in the NHS, is cheaper in the long run, better for those who should be discharged and frees beds for those who actually need to be in hospital."

Backing the report, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee, said: “This report from ResPublica provides compelling evidence that social care cannot be seen in isolation from the NHS. There is an urgent need to improve access to social care and to address the delayed transfers of care and this can no longer be side-lined by policy makers.”

Baroness Joan Bakewell, a champion for older people, said: “Care homes are vital to our community and most importantly to the people who live in them. I welcome ResPublica’s report that acknowledges the important role that care homes play in our society and proposes important mechanisms for ensuring their sustainable future.

“We value the work good care homes do and this report acknowledges this role and can contribute to securing it for the future. Helping vulnerable people with dementia to live in an environment appropriate for their needs, rather than in an environment not suitable for them, is crucial. Bed-blocking in hospitals causes great grievance to vulnerable elderly people, and this report is a great first step in helping this situation.”

Ian Smith, Chairman of Four Seasons Healthcare, said: “Discharging medically stable patients from hospital to a recovery period of care in a nursing home is a good idea that works in practice. We know because is already happening in our homes, although so far it is on a relatively small scale.

We currently have around 375 people who are recuperating in our homes while their longer term care needs are assessed and arrangements made for their ongoing care. It is freeing up hospital beds and saving NHS budgets. We recently launched a 24-7 rapid response assessment and admissions service that helps hospital discharge teams to locate care services in appropriate homes.”

Dr Chai Patel, Chairman and Acting CEO of HC-One, said: “This report provides further evidence that the crisis in our health and social care system can be avoided.

Every day hundreds of thousands of older people receive kind and quality support in care homes up and down the country. Not only does this save money for the publish purse, compared to supporting people in hospitals, it also means more hospital beds for those who need them, and crucially better care for older people who truly deserve it.

We want care homes to be part of a solution that protects our NHS and gives frail elderly people care and support when they need it most. Unless we urgently tackle this growing crisis, we risk the NHS losing billions of pounds, hundreds of care homes closing, and older people suffering needlessly in overcrowded hospital wards.”

Mike Parish, Chief Executive of care provider Care UK, said: “The most critical issue facing our NHS hospitals is inpatient and A&E congestion caused by the unnecessary admission of patients, due principally to limitations in primary care, and difficulties in discharging frail and elderly patients because of the under-funded and under-developed state of social care.

This causes unnecessary distress and harm to these patients and is immensely costly.

This can be addressed through more effective partnership and investment in better resourced and technologically enabled forms of primary and social care, and this report makes a strong case for such strategies.”

Peter Kyle, the MP for Hove who has campaigned for better care for the elderly, said: “The situation in the residential care home sector is dire at the moment. The 2% precept and the Better Care Fund are supposed to make up the gap in public spending on the social care sector, but there is little confidence that they can - or will - do this. I welcome ResPublica’s practical proposals as an important step in developing funding models for a more sustainable health and social care system.”


3 GMB press release dated Wednesday 8 June 2016

Bed Blocking In England Up By 32% Since 2011/12 New GMB Study Shows

The severe cuts in local authorities’ social services provision is the major contributory factor for bed-blocking getting worse says GMB

GMB Congress in Bournemouth was told today that the number of days lost to bed blocking has increased by 32% in English hospitals between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

In 2015/16 NHS patients in England who were ready to be discharged but were kept in hospital due to delays in providing alternative care were delayed by 1,809,883 days. This was an increase of 436,491 days compared with 1,373,392 days in 2011/12.

The changes in the nine regions of the England are as follows: For the North West there was an increase of 91,234 days to 229,757 in 2015/16. For the South East there was an increase of 88,902 days to 352,468. For the South West there has been an increase of 83,433 days to 257,900. For the East of England there has been an increase of 57,753 days to 193,688. For London there has been an increase of 37,053 days to 174,981. For Yorkshire and the Humber there has been an increase of 35,293 days to 146,646. For The West Midlands there has been an increase of 28,635 days to 237,724.For the East Midlands there has been an increase of 27,676 days to 166,823. The North East was the only region not to see an increase to the number of days lost to bed blocking, reporting a decrease of 16,959 to 43,104. The table below shows the full details for the nine regions in England.

Set out in notes to Editor are details for the twenty areas in England with the largest increase in days delayed leaving NHS hospitals between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

There are no figures available for the total number of patients delayed. On one day at the end of each month the NHS counts the number of patients in hospital whose discharge is delayed. For the year 2015/16 for those 12 days the total was 63,167 patients, an increase of 14,466, 30%, since 2011/12.

The data, published by NHS England was analysed and ranked by GMB. See notes to editors for sources and definitions. The table in Notes to Editors 2 sets out the official data for all 9 regions in the England. The raw data for 151 areas in England plus the other GMB press releases with regional data are set out as PDFs at the foot of the national release at GMB website

The impact of bed blocking on the NHS is set out in a new report adopted by the Congress entitled ‘GMB in the Care Sector – Campaigning to prevent the collapse of Social Care.’ The report is set out as a pdf at the foot of the National press release on the GMB website at


Number of Delayed Days














North West




South East




South West




East of England








Yorkshire and The Humber




West Midlands




East Midlands




North East




Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, speaking at the Congress in Bournemouth said "Bed-blocking, which is a millstone around the neck of the NHS, has got considerably worse since the Tories took control of the nation’s finances.

Bed-blocking is now a problem made in Downing Street and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are wholly responsible for it.

The severe cuts in local authorities’ social services provision is the major contributory factor for bed-blocking getting worse.

For England as a whole bed-blocking has increased from 1.4 million days in 2011/12 to over 1.8 million days last year.

Councils have had to shunt the problem to the NHS. Councils have not been able to accept the patients from the NHS because they have been starved of funds.

The government has refused to fund the NHS fairly and in recent years, health spending has fallen well short of GDP. As the fifth richest country, it's dire how our old and vulnerable are being treated.”


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