Responding to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report on hospital discharge, Nesta Lloyd-Jones, assistant director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said:
“We welcome the Health and Social Care Committee’s report on hospital discharge and welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the inquiry.
“The report’s findings reiterate the importance of a strong, stable social care sector and the need for long-term funding. Without significant improvements in this area, including improved pay, conditions and career prospects for those working in social care, the situation is unlikely to improve as much as we need it to. The rising cost of living will only exacerbate problems recruiting into the sector and add to existing costs.
“As we know, being unable to discharge patients from hospital has a huge knock-on effect on NHS capacity. This is most visible in both ambulance response times and ambulance handover delays, where they can be stacked up outside hospitals, unable to get out to other patients who urgently need their care and causing long waits in emergency departments. This in turn can affect hospitals’ ability to carry out scheduled care, such as hip and knee operations.
“NHS leaders in Wales recognise that every delayed transfer of care disrupts not just the life of the patient, as well as potentially compromising their recovery, but the lives of their family and carers, staff looking after them in hospital and those trying to receive treatment at the “front door”.
“Local NHS and social care leaders are working closely together to improve the situation, but without the long-term, sustainable funding for the care sector that we’ve been calling for, there is only so far these collaborative efforts can go.”