Ann Coffey MP has urged Stockport Council to re-think its plans for £4.75 million of cuts to adult social care which she says will intensify the pressure on beds at Stepping Hill hospital.
Ms Coffey said the cuts would be counter-productive and would not save money in the long term because increasing numbers of vulnerable and elderly people would end up being admitted to hospital.
She has called on the Council to rethink its plans, which includes cuts to the Reablement and Community Home Support Service (REaCH), which helped over 1000 local people last year including over 600 who had ongoing support after discharge from hospital.
Plans to reduce the size of the hospital social work team would also have an impact on how quickly people can be discharged from Stepping Hill, she said.
Ms Coffey recently visited Stepping Hill hospital, including the Accident and Emergency department, where she heard first-hand about the pressure on beds. She praised the staff for their commitment to ensuring that patients get the best possible care.
Ms Coffey said:
“It does not make sense, at a time when we are moving towards the integration of health and social care, to propose such big cuts in social care that will have a devastating knock-on effect on health care.
“The hospital is under massive pressure for beds and yet the council is cutting services that keep people out of hospital. It is a short term fix.
“I know that Stepping Hill Hospital, the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Council are all working together to provide better community services to support people at home rather than admitting them to hospital. So these cuts are counter-productive.
“We need to keep resources in the community, not take them out.”
Ms Coffey said cuts in adult social care for dementia sufferers would leave them particularly vulnerable to illnesses and preventable hospital admissions.
Recently in the Commons Ms Coffey highlighted the challenges in caring for dementia sufferers in the community.
She said that she supported the objective for Britain to be a world leader in fighting dementia, but said it was a challenging objective at a time of cuts in social care and the difficulties in recruiting people to work in jobs that have traditionally been poorly skilled and badly paid.
She called for a move away from task-centred social care system in which multiple carers make short 15 minute visits to a system that involves skilled care in which continuity of care and carers’ skills are a high priority.
She also urged better support for relatives of dementia sufferers and for more imaginative use of new technology to help people with dementia to free up the time for relatives and carers to build good quality relationships.