NHS will be getting patients out of the hospitals faster! – says Labours Shadow Health Secretary Streeting

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Marchers defending the NHS demand an end to the NHS care crisis

THE NHS will be encouraged to buy up social care beds in a bid to get medically-fit patients out of hospitals faster, Labour has said.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting claimed patients currently stuck in NHS beds due to a lack of social care provision ‘could fill 26 hospitals’.

He said the party will ensure that NHS and social care work together to ‘spend money more effectively than they currently do.

‘I went to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington this month where a patient had been stuck in hospital for 60 days, despite being well enough to leave because the care wasn’t available,’ Streeting said in a speech on Tuesday to the Medical Journalists’ Association in London.

He told the audience: ‘Not only is that a waste of that patient’s time and life, it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. The number of patients in hospital beds today unable to be discharged because of a lack of care in the community could fill 26 hospitals.

‘The price of that failure is £1.7 billion a year. Labour will get more hospitals doing what Leeds Teaching Hospitals are already doing: investing in local social care beds to discharge patients faster, better for patients and less expensive for the taxpayers.’

He later added: ‘Leeds has shown it is possible to discharge patients from hospital who no longer need to be there faster through close partnership between the NHS and social care partners.

‘It is better for the patient and it is better for the taxpayer, because people are getting the right care, in the right place for a fraction of the cost.

‘We will learn from the great innovations already happening in the health service like this, and take the best of the NHS to the rest of the NHS.’

Streeting also reiterated his pledge to use up private sector capacity, adding: ‘There’s nothing left wing about leaving hospital beds to lie empty while working class patients lie in pain.’

He also said that ‘pouring more money into a broken system’ would be ‘wasteful in every sense’ and the NHS needed to move away from being a ‘sickness service’.