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Call to cut hospital beds

12th July 2011

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia has called for the government to cut the number of hospital beds available in the NHS by 10%.

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The group, which is composed of peers and MPs, said that a reduction in the number of beds would release £1 billion to spend on improvements to dementia care.

A report by the group said failing to address problems in care would lead to an "unqualified crisis".

The APPG report said the yearly spend on dementia care in the UK is £20 billion and it warned that social care budgets were under serious strain.

The report said there was "ample opportunity" to use funds in a more effective way. It criticised the health service for not prioritising dementia care and called for improved organisation of doctors, care workers, homes and hospitals.

The APPG said up to 25% of hospital beds in England are thought to be filled with people over the age of 65 who have dementia.

The group said this meant over 26,000 patients with dementia were in hospital at any time and this cost over £2 billion.

The chair of the APPG, Baroness Sally Greengross, said reducing beds could result in instant financial benefits.

"Money is consistently being thrown away on poor quality services and inappropriate care for people with dementia.

The Dilnot Commission last week put caring for older people firmly in the spotlight, but its recommendations are not yet a reality. Our report shows there are many ways to save money and improve care now." 

 

 

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