A lack of “care and support in the community” is preventing hundreds of thousands of patients from receiving the vital treatment they need, which is in turn crippling the NHS, an expert has claimed. TalkTV’s Political editor Peter Cardwell claimed bed blocking had become a “major problem” for the healthcare system and an absence of post-treatment care was preventing the issue from “going away anytime soon”. His comments come as an NHS chief admitted that “alarm bells should be ringing” in Whitehall over the crisis, with no clear solution in place and the winter months ahead likely to prove chaotic.
Mr Cardwell said: “We have a situation where we have about 100,000 vacancies in the NHS, about another 100,000 in the care sector, care homes that are incredibly expensive for many people yet most people in there are often on low wages.
“So, there is a lot that could be done if the system worked. This is not really to do with money although the unions are saying money is an issue here, and inflation is as much a problem for the NHS as it is for everybody else in the country.
“At the same time, though, the system itself, the bed blocking and the number of people who are in hospitals but just cannot get out because the care and support in the community is not there for them, is another major problem within the system.
“This is not something that is going to go away anytime soon leading to the effective head of the NHS Accident & Emergency saying he did not want people going into hospital.”
NHS waiting lists for treatment in England continue to reach record levels, with 7.1 million people on the overall waiting list and a raft of cancer targets routinely missed.
In February, NHS England said the number of people waiting more than 62 days from an urgent cancer referral to starting treatment should go back to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023. At present, just 61.7 percent of people (the average for 2022/23 so far) get cancer treatment within 62 days, compared with 77.2 percent before the pandemic.
NHS England also set a goal to deliver around 30 percent more planned treatments by 2024/25 than before the pandemic, with over 10 percent more in 2022/23 alone.
However, the NHS is currently only hitting 96 percent of pre-pandemic levels in this area (this is the average figure for the first six months of this financial year).
READ MORE: Cancer patients among thousands with ‘time bomb’ breast implants [REVEAL]
The new NHS Providers report found trust leaders were more worried about this winter than any previous one, with nurse strikes and too few staff adding to the pressure.
Some 85 percent of trust leaders agreed or strongly agreed they were more concerned about this winter than any previous one during their career.
The State of the Provider Sector 2022 report also found 89 percent of trust leaders were extremely concerned about the impact of winter pressures on their trust and local area.
The NHS comes under pressure every year during the colder months as emergency admissions rise, with more people requiring hospital care for respiratory conditions or problems made worse by cold weather and viruses.
However, many trust leaders said this winter they were especially worried about staff shortages, burnout, retaining existing workers and staff absences.
DON’T MISS: Up to 3 million could see surgery delayed due to nurse strikes [REVEAL]
Britons may be eligible for free prescriptions [REPORT]
Discharge delays mean thousands of patients face Christmas in hospital [INSIGHT]