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The social care crisis is killing the NHS

Analysis: With A&E waiting times at the worst levels ever, sorting social care is the key to helping hospitals, writes health correspondent Shaun Lintern

Thursday 14 November 2019 20:02 GMT
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During September there was a daily average of 4,979 beds occupied by patients waiting to leave hospital
During September there was a daily average of 4,979 beds occupied by patients waiting to leave hospital (Getty)

The latest NHS performance statistics are ghastly – hospitals and, let’s not forget, their staff, are working flat out in the face of rising accident and emergency attendances with record numbers of patients being forced to wait hours to be seen.

But the true horror lies a little deeper in the stats and, while it will attract fewer headlines, the frightening reality is there for all to see: the collapse of social care is dragging down the health service.

A hospital is almost like a living organism in that it has a circulatory system that relies on the ability to move patients from A&E to the wards and operating theatres for treatment, then on to recovery and finally back to either their home or another provider.

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