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CSP chief challenges health secretary for England over rehabilitation resources

10 June 2013 - 4:19pm

CSP chief executive Phil Gray challenged health secretary Jeremy Hunt over his commitment to improving outcomes for older people in hospitals, during questions at the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool.


CSP chief excecutive Phil Gray (above) challenged commitments made by health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Mr Gray told Mr Hunt that the ‘appalling’ term ‘bed-blockers’ should not be used to describe vulnerable older people. He also asked if more funding would be provided to back the government’s commitment to improve rehabilitation provision for older people.

Speaking at the annual NHS Confederation conference last Thursday, Mr Hunt outlined the ‘vulnerable older people's plan’, part of an effort to deal with the increasing pressures on A&E departments.

The plan, to be implemented from April 2014, would look at the urgent and emergency care proposition and whether it is right for the public; improving integration of services; and developing good primary care alternatives to A&E, where appropriate, Mr Hunt said.

Mr Gray welcomed the commitments made by the health secretary. But he added: ‘I ask you to stop using the appalling term “bed blockers”.’ He said older people didn’t stay in hospital because they wanted to, ‘but because system has failed them and they are stuck there’.

He also said: ‘I warmly welcome the push towards early prevention, early invention and rehabilitation, but can we see some investment in those services?’

Mr Hunt agreed with both points, adding that the need for patient-centred care had been addressed in naming the ‘vulnerable older people's plan’.

But he fell short of promising more resources for A&E services. ‘We need more resources in A&E, and many parts of the NHS, and these are very difficult financial circumstances,’ Mr Hunt said.



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