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Council social services cash running out as NHS A&E faces winter crisis

PUBLISHED: 11:52 24 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:48 24 January 2014

John Biggs

John Biggs

Archant

Town halls could soon run out of cash unless more government funds are ploughed into social services for the elderly as hospital A& E departments face a growing crisis of admissions.

The warning comes from the London Assembly’s budget chairman John Biggs, who represents east London with its growing elderly population.

It follows a report by the Assembly’s Dr Onkar Sahota from NHS statistics showing as many as 62,000 admissions for the over-65s in London in the past 12 months could have been avoided, while nearly 2,700 ambulances in the past two months alone waited longer than 30 minutes to transfer patients into an A&E.

Now John Biggs is calling for the government to recognise the impact of cuts on local authorities and the NHS.

“Our A&E crisis is linked to the crisis in care for older people,” he said.

“Local authorities have seen their funding decimated by the government and are unable to cope with the increasingly ageing population.

“Town halls will simply run out of money by 2020 if no new funds or reforms are secured.”

He accused the government of handing GPs “the poisoned chalice of responsibility” after the NHS reorganisation and blaming the pressures solely on out-of-hours contracts.

Dr Sahota’s report calls for a fully-integrated health and social care system to take the pressure off A&E departments.

Barts NHS trust which runs the six major hospitals in east London including the Royal London and Newham University already operates an ‘after care’ monitoring system following up elderly patients once they have left hospital.

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