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Call to divert Scottish NHS spending into home care for older people

Live In Care Client holding carers hand

The body representing independent care services in Scotland has called for NHS spending to be frozen and funds diverted to improving care for the elderly.

Scottish Care said investment in better social care for older people would improve their lives and cut help to cut emergency hospital admissions, the BBC has reported.

The statement was made after Scottish Care commission and published the findings of new research ahead of its annual conference in Glasgow.

It found that in 2012-13, the average emergency hospital admission for over-65s lasted for 11.8 days, at an average cost of £4,846. The umbrella body’s report said that amount could fund either care at home for a week for 27.7 older people or 9.28 weeks in a residential care home for one pensioner.

It also highlighted that unscheduled admissions for over-65s amount to a third of the £4.5bn spent on health and social care for older people.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Ranald Mair, chief executive of Scottish Care, said: “If we’re going to manage to keep more people out of hospital, to maintain them in their own homes and also to prevent them going into long term care at an early stage, then we actually have to invest in home care.

“The danger at the moment is that we’re continuing to invest in hospitals and as you know, all politicians want to be the defenders of the NHS. This isn’t an attack on the NHS, let me be clear. If people need to go to hospital that’s where they should be.

“But what we know is that over 20% of admissions of older people to hospital are ‘unnecessary’ admissions. They’re not going in because of their clinical needs, they’re going in because of their circumstances and because of the lack of alternatives.”


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