AN ADDITIONAL half a million pounds has been given to the county council to help ease the bed blocking crisis crippling the county’s hospitals.
Worcestershire County Council is one of 65 councils in England to receive the funding from a special ministerial committee of the Department of Health examining ways to support the health system over the winter period.
It is not yet known how the extra £520,000 will be spent but it must be used by March.
Coun Sheila Blagg, responsible for adult social care on the council, said they welcomed the new funding.
“We will now be sitting down with health partners and working closely with them to formulate a plan to ensure this money is spent for the maximum benefit of patients and social care provision.”
Worcestershire County Council plans to cut £32million from adult social care by 2016/17. The cuts have been blamed for adding to the pressure on hospitals by tying up beds with patients who no longer need medical attention, but are unable to be moved because there is no space in nursing homes or delays in assessing their needs to enable appropriate support to be delivered at home.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has warned it will start to issue fines if the situation does not improve but the council insists the NHS is still to blame for the majority of delays.
Figures from NHS England show between April and November last year there were an extra 6,545 delayed transfers of care compared to the same period in 2013.
But the NHS remains responsible for 70 per cent of delays with social care alone accountable for just over a fifth. But over the period the number of delays jointly caused by both organisations has almost doubled to 1,457.
The news comes as councillors clashed over the state of the NHS amid claims from Labour it is ‘sinking like the Titanic’.
During a debate at County Hall, Labour tabled a motion calling for county council leader Adrian Hardman to support Shadow
Health Secretary Andy Burnham’s calls for an urgent cross-party summit to address the pressure on the NHS and in particular pointed out the large number of people trapped in hospital due to social care cuts.
But the motion was dismissed by opposition councillors who accused Labour of politicising the situation.
Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for health, branded the move ‘absurdly reactionary’ while Coun Fran Oborski called it scaremongering.