New NHS community response teams show the need for social care investment, says UNISON

Solving problems caused by care underfunding

Commenting on NHS England plans to create a number of community rapid response teams to treat older people in their homes to try to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Any moves to treat elderly people in their own homes and avoid trips to already overstretched A&E departments will be welcomed by an NHS that’s in danger of being overwhelmed.

“If the social care system wasn’t underfunded to the point of collapse, older people could be helped before they hit crisis point.

“But with resources scarce, short visits have become the norm. Care workers are so rushed off their feet, they barely have time to administer basic care, let alone assess whether someone needs a greater degree of help.

“There can be no quick fix for social care. The failure of politicians to get to grips with one of the most pressing issues the country faces is nothing short of a disgrace.”

Under the NHS England plans, vulnerable adults would be seen in the community within two hours, with the aim of avoiding visits to hospital A&E departments.

Notes to editors
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

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