More funding for occupational therapists could prevent needless deaths

Tuesday 21st November 2017
Social care funding from the government needs to increase to help prevent needless deaths, according to a new report. Image: Obencem via iStock
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The NHS is urgently calling for more funding for nursing and social care staff, including occupational therapists, to help ensure everyone in the country is receiving the care they need and all needless deaths are being prevented.

At the moment, this is not necessarily the case, as new figures compiled by doctors from the Department of Applied Health Research at University College London show that a lack of staff is leading to 100 needless deaths each day.

As the population ages and the number of over-80s climbs to 1.8 million in 2020 from 1.6 million in 2016, this figure is only likely to increase.

Researchers predict that some 120,000 unnecessary deaths have taken place in England since 2010 due to cuts to healthcare budgets, which demonstrates just how vital it is for NHS funding to be upped once more.

During the last seven years, social care funding has fallen by an average of 1.9 per cent a year, but there is now clear evidence showing that this is not sustainable for the future if people are to receive the high standard of care they deserve.

Occupational therapists can play an essential role in helping people to stay mobile and keep their independence, which can keep both their physical and mental health in good condition. This can help to prevent the onset of illness and subsequent death, showing just how important funding for these healthcare professionals is.

Commenting on these findings, Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, stated: "Despite years of warnings, all parts of the NHS and social care system do not have enough nurses and people - particularly vulnerable and older individuals are paying the highest price.

"For too long, the government has allowed nursing on the cheap. Hospital wards and care homes alike increasingly rely on unregistered healthcare assistants, especially at night. Ministers cannot ignore further evidence on the risks of these shortages."

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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