By Ann Coffey MP
I have been contacted by more constituents concerned that their relatives are trapped in beds in Stepping Hill because the care they need to support them in the community cannot be provided. An issue I raised last month in my column.
One of the underlying problems is the lack of good quality care homes in Stockport. The last two inspection reports sent to me by the Care Quality Commission which inspects care homes rated one as requiring improvement and the other to be inadequate.
We can’t have elderly, vulnerable people being placed in poor quality care homes, so this reduces the number of available places. Care homes are also facing rising costs and those costs will inevitably be passed on in increased charges for places. If there is no increased government grant to meet those increased charges then there will be less places available.
The consequence of these pressures is that patients cannot be discharged from Stepping Hill because there are no suitable and affordable places in care homes. This causes such distress.
Sometimes patients could go home if there were care available to support relatives, but often there is not.
With winter coming we could be faced with a worsening situation with more elderly people being admitted to hospital with seasonal illnesses and unable to be discharged.
The system is at breaking point.
In the short term, care homes need to improve their standards to increase the number of beds available. And more funding from government.
I think in the long term there is a case for Stockport building and managing new good quality care homes themselves rather than relying on rather unstable and increasingly expensive private provision. I think my constituents would welcome that.