Cut hospital beds by 10% to fund dementia care, say MPs

The NHS should cut at least 10% of hospital beds to free up funds for community-based dementia care services, MPs and peers have recommended.

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The NHS should cut at least 10% of hospital beds to free up funds for community-based dementia care services, MPs and peers have recommended.

The all-party parliamentary group for dementia said the change would release more than £1bn for investment in community dementia care across England.

A report published by the APPG today was critical of the effectiveness of the use of scarce public resources to treat people with dementia.

“Hospital care is expensive to provide and hospital stays can have a negative impact upon the symptoms of a person’s dementia, as well as putting them at risk of complications such as infection and falls,” said the report.

“Changes to the hospital environment can help to improve experiences of hospital stays; there should, however, be greater efforts to prevent inappropriate hospital admissions by investing in community services. This will be both more cost-effective and better for people with dementia.”

The group said only £141m was needed to provide all dementia sufferers with a dementia adviser and only £68m would be necessary to invest in better access to NHS services for people in care homes.

Alzheimer’s Society backed the APPG’s call.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the charity, said: “We can’t keep using the chicken and egg excuse that it’s not possible to cut hospital beds, and release funds, until community services are in place. The reality is that money is not being spent in the best way and NHS bosses must find a way to change this.”

He said the changes would result in fewer and shorter hospital stays for people with dementia.

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