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NHS faces beds crisis as care homes stop taking patients from hospitals

care homes

NHS faces beds crisis as care homes stop taking patients from hospitals

The NHS faces a mounting beds crisis as care homes suffering unprecedented staff shortages are forced to stop taking patients from hospitals, health and care leaders have warned.

Ministers are desperately trying to free up space in the NHS to tackle a backlog of 5.6 million people – equivalent to almost 10% of people in England – awaiting treatment.

But efforts to speed up the discharge of hospital patients into the community are being hampered by care worker shortages. Britain’s largest not-for-profit care home provider, MHA, has already had to close one in 10 of its homes to admissions from hospitals, its chief executive, Sam Monaghan, told the Guardian.

The warning comes as a comprehensive assessment on Wednesday reveals that care homes in England are facing the biggest staff shortage on record, with 105,000 positions unfilled according to the 2021 State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce report by Skills for Care, an industry body.

Mandatory double vaccination for all frontline workers is now less than a month away, meaning the situation is set to worsen. Monaghan said: “Across the social care sector, the staffing crisis means [fewer] care places for older people. Even as a large charity, MHA was forced to close 10% of our care homes to new admissions on average over the past month, which means more older people are staying in hospital when they don’t need to be there.”

Seven of MHA’s 89 homes remain closed to new residents due to staffing levels, Monaghan added. One area hit particularly hard was Yorkshire, he said, with three MHA homes currently unable to take in people from local hospitals. The crisis underlined the “gap between political aspirations and the reality on the ground for people who need good quality care right now”, he warned.

The workforce shortage is being compounded by a slump in foreign staff coming to fill vacancies, the Skills for Care report shows. Less than 2% of new starters in the first quarter of this year arrived from abroad, compared with more than 8% in 2019 – an estimated drop of about 20,000 people.

Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said delayed discharges of medically fit patients was having a serious effect on other parts of the health service.

“Health leaders do not want patients who are medically fit and ready to be discharged to have to stay in hospital any longer than they need to as it won’t be the best environment to support their recovery and it means that other patients will have to wait longer for their treatment,” he said. “Increases in delays to discharging patients means fewer inpatient beds available and delays in A&E and elsewhere.”

Last month, Sajid Javid, the health secretary, announced £478m in extra funding to enable the quick and safe discharge of patients from hospitals this winter. But experts said the cash would not resolve the shortage of social care workers to look after discharged patients.

“This funding will be welcome but without parallel investment in social care staff to support getting people out of hospital in a timely way and recover closer to home, then patients will face longer waits, or it will be unpaid carers that are left to provide this support,” said Nina Hemmings, researcher at the Nuffield Trust thinktank.

Thousands of staff who are declining Covid vaccinations are expected to be told they can no longer be deployed in care homes in the coming weeks. Many have already quit. Nearly 13% of staff in older adult care homes had not been double vaccinated by 3 October – over 59,000 workers.

Staffing levels in certain areas are likely to be disproportionately hit. Almost one in four care workers in Manchester have not had two jabs, and around one in five in Stoke, Thurrock, and Hackney and Lambeth in London, NHS England data shows.

The government has made double vaccination a “condition of deployment” in care homes in England from 11 November to limit infection spread. Care home operators have called for the deadline to be postponed, pointing out that a similar policy for NHS workers remains under consultation. Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association, said it had “succeeded in bringing the sector to its knees”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We appreciate the dedication and tireless efforts of care workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. We are providing at least £500m to support the care workforce as part of the £5.4bn to reform social care. We are also working to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high quality care to meet increasing demands. This includes running regular national recruitment campaigns and providing councils with over £1bn of additional funding for social care this year.”

The NHS faces a mounting beds crisis as care homes suffering unprecedented staff shortages are forced to stop taking patients from hospitals, health and care leaders have warned.

Ministers are desperately trying to free up space in the NHS to tackle a backlog of 5.6 million people – equivalent to almost 10% of people in England – awaiting treatment.

But efforts to speed up the discharge of hospital patients into the community are being hampered by care worker shortages. Britain’s largest not-for-profit care home provider, MHA, has already had to close one in 10 of its homes to admissions from hospitals, its chief executive, Sam Monaghan, told the Guardian.

The warning comes as a comprehensive assessment on Wednesday reveals that care homes in England are facing the biggest staff shortage on record, with 105,000 positions unfilled according to the 2021 State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce report by Skills for Care, an industry body.

Mandatory double vaccination for all frontline workers is now less than a month away, meaning the situation is set to worsen. Monaghan said: “Across the social care sector, the staffing crisis means [fewer] care places for older people. Even as a large charity, MHA was forced to close 10% of our care homes to new admissions on average over the past month, which means more older people are staying in hospital when they don’t need to be there.”

Seven of MHA’s 89 homes remain closed to new residents due to staffing levels, Monaghan added. One area hit particularly hard was Yorkshire, he said, with three MHA homes currently unable to take in people from local hospitals. The crisis underlined the “gap between political aspirations and the reality on the ground for people who need good quality care right now”, he warned.

The workforce shortage is being compounded by a slump in foreign staff coming to fill vacancies, the Skills for Care report shows. Less than 2% of new starters in the first quarter of this year arrived from abroad, compared with more than 8% in 2019 – an estimated drop of about 20,000 people.

Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said delayed discharges of medically fit patients was having a serious effect on other parts of the health service.

“Health leaders do not want patients who are medically fit and ready to be discharged to have to stay in hospital any longer than they need to as it won’t be the best environment to support their recovery and it means that other patients will have to wait longer for their treatment,” he said. “Increases in delays to discharging patients means fewer inpatient beds available and delays in A&E and elsewhere.”

Last month, Sajid Javid, the health secretary, announced £478m in extra funding to enable the quick and safe discharge of patients from hospitals this winter. But experts said the cash would not resolve the shortage of social care workers to look after discharged patients.

“This funding will be welcome but without parallel investment in social care staff to support getting people out of hospital in a timely way and recover closer to home, then patients will face longer waits, or it will be unpaid carers that are left to provide this support,” said Nina Hemmings, researcher at the Nuffield Trust thinktank.

Thousands of staff who are declining Covid vaccinations are expected to be told they can no longer be deployed in care homes in the coming weeks. Many have already quit. Nearly 13% of staff in older adult care homes had not been double vaccinated by 3 October – over 59,000 workers.

Staffing levels in certain areas are likely to be disproportionately hit. Almost one in four care workers in Manchester have not had two jabs, and around one in five in Stoke, Thurrock, and Hackney and Lambeth in London, NHS England data shows.

The government has made double vaccination a “condition of deployment” in care homes in England from 11 November to limit infection spread. Care home operators have called for the deadline to be postponed, pointing out that a similar policy for NHS workers remains under consultation. Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association, said it had “succeeded in bringing the sector to its knees”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We appreciate the dedication and tireless efforts of care workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. We are providing at least £500m to support the care workforce as part of the £5.4bn to reform social care. We are also working to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high quality care to meet increasing demands. This includes running regular national recruitment campaigns and providing councils with over £1bn of additional funding for social care this year.”

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Group hails IG as mother accused Hospital of stealing Placenta

The Inspector General of Police, (IG) Kayode Egbetokun has received praises for the prompt arrest of suspects accused of stealing the placenta of a new born baby in privated hospital located in Kwara State. The suspects were taken from Ilofa to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Thursday.
In a statement signed by NHRC’s official, Mr Taiwo Adeleye said the arrest of the suspects was an important step towards securing justice for the families of Mr Rotimi Williams whose wife accused health officials at a private hospital of stealing the placenta of her new born baby.
The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC),a coalition of 130 civil society groups spread across Nigeria on Thursday expressed delight at the arrest of the suspects by the police.
The group said it was aware of plots by some powerful individuals to clog the wheel of justice but was delighted that the IG has brought hope to the despairing family. It called for full investigation that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of all culprits.
Few days ago, Mrs Williams accused the management of Cottage hospital, Ilofa, Kwara State of failing to account for the placenta of her new born baby. In complaints lodged with the NHRC, Mrs Williams said a nurse, Mrs Alabi took the delivery, one nurse Adeloye cleaned up the baby while one Mrs Toyin, a ward attendant claimed she mistakenly threw away the placenta.
“In Nigerian agelong tradition, the placenta is linked to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of a new born baby. There is a customary and agelong way of burying placenta of which every medical staff is aware.The disappearance of a baby’s placenta is a source of eternal trauma for the parents and a prelude to impugn the future of the child based on timeless tradition and beliefs,” the NHRC said.
The Coalition said the placenta could be stolen for rituals, adding that stealing a placenta is like killing the child or using the child for ritual by other means The group said it would follow-up the case “day and night” to ensure justice is done. The NHRC said Mrs Toyin brought out the mother’s bags from the labour room but failed to take the placenta along.
The rights group said one Mrs Ayoni Awolusi in the course of the delivery, claimed she was to be on duty but was absent. The medical personnel expected to be on dury was Dr. Ajibola. NHRC said Mrs Williams put to bed around 7pm on Sunday May 12 but discovered the missing placenta very early on Monday 13th, May.
The group called on the IG to intensify the probe and ensure every one connected with the gory episode is brought to justice

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AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccines from market as demand reduces

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca on Wednesday said it was withdrawing Covid vaccine Vaxzevria, one of the first produced in the deadly pandemic, citing “commercial reasons” following a slump in demand.

“As multiple, variant Covid-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines. This has led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson added in a statement.

“We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

AstraZeneca rapidly developed the successful Covid-19 jab during the coronavirus pandemic which erupted in the first half of 2020.

Vaxzevria, developed alongside Oxford University, was at first offered at cost but Astra decided in late 2021 to sell it for profit.

But the world pivoted towards mRNA vaccines, particularly the one produced by US drugs giant Pfizer and German peer BioNTech, after rare blood-clot problems with Astra’s jab increased public hesitancy about taking it.

Sales collapsed further as global Covid restrictions were fully lifted worldwide and the world emerged from the global health crisis.

The AstraZeneca spokesperson said the group had begun the process from taking it off the market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA) region.

The company will work with other regulators globally to start market authorisation withdrawals for the Vaxzevria “where no future commercial demand for the vaccine is expected”.

The spokesperson said that, according to independent estimates, “over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone” and more than three billion doses were supplied globally.

“We are incredibly proud of the role Vaxzevria played in ending the global pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. ”

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NMA lauds Police for arresting fake doctor in Lagos

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has commended the Nigerian Police Force for arresting an alleged fake medical doctor.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman, NMA Lagos, said the arrest will strengthen the association’s fight against quackery in the medical profession.

Olowojebutu explained that medical quackery was a dangerous practice that posed a threat to the well-being of citizens and the delivery of quality healthcare in the state, and country.

“The arrest is a welcome development for the health sector; we would expose these quacks and ensure that Lagos does not suffer further morbidity and mortality from their nefarious activities.

“We are glad that our work on anti-quackery has started yielding progress as we are determined to weed out quacks from the medical profession,” he said.

The chairman pledged that NMA Lagos, with the support of the Ministry of Health, Health Monitoring and Accreditation Agency, HEFAMAA, and police, would eradicate quacks from the state.

According to him, the association would hold an anti-quackery summit soon, after which it would present a white paper to the Lagos State Government on anti-quackery.

Olowojebutu warned hospitals to refrain from employing staff whose certificates and licences had not been verified by the MDCN to safeguard the health of the populace.

The 37-year-old medical practitioner with suspected forged certificates was arrested by police at Skylink Medical Centre, Elepe-Ikorodu.

The police said they arrested the suspect, who claimed to be the managing director of the health facility, based on intelligence gathered by the command through members of the Elepe community concerning the activities of the suspect.

The police recovered two suspected forged certificates of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, after searching for the facility.

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