Commenting on a National Audit Office report showing that delayed transfers of care cost the NHS £820m last year, Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said:

"This is an inevitable consequence of a short-sighted policy of protecting health spending while slashing social care budgets. Lack of care and support at home means frail and elderly people stuck in hospital beds, not 'bed blockers' but trapped by systemic failure in health and care.

"And while a growing older population adds to the pressure, it can't account for a 31% jump in hospital beds days lost in just two years. The NHS itself can only do so much; we need the Government to confront the issue of the future of health and social care funding head on."

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