More than 550 people in Hampshire died while waiting for social care in one year
MORE than 550 people in Hampshire died while waiting for social care in 2019-20, figures show.
Data from NHS England reveals 33,755 people nationwide died while waiting to receive support from adult social services.
Of those, between 555 and 559 died in Hampshire. Some 160 deaths were in Portsmouth, 335 in Southampton and between 60 and 64 in the Hampshire council area.
The news comes after the government announced a 1.25 percentage point increase in National Insurance on Wednesday.
Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said the figures were ‘surprising’ but also a major cause for concern.
He said: ‘When I talk to people at the hospital, they tell me that Portsmouth is very good at getting people out of hospital quickly, and with a care plan.
‘The problem we have at the moment is that we’ve also got people at home in need of care, and care agencies are handing back their contracts because they can’t find anybody to employ.
According to the council leader, 370 hours of care per week are not provided throughout the city, due to a staff shortage in care agencies.
He added that without further reform to social care infrastructure, the issues will only get worse in the years to come.
‘If you can make the same salary by stacking shelves at a supermarket, it’s an easy choice,’ he said.
‘The social care reforms announced by the government don’t go anywhere near far enough - especially when you consider that social care workers will still pay this National Insurance levy, which is meant to increase their pay.
‘In our budget we managed to secure more money for adult social care even though the Conservative and Labour councillors opposed it. We’ll see what more we can do in the future but this problem is going to get worse.’
In 2016-17, the first year the data was published, 6,580 people were recorded as dying after applying for care. That increased to 32,115 the following year and has stayed above 30,000 each year since.
Reporting the deaths was only made mandatory in 2017-18, and could be recorded under an umbrella group of ‘no services provided’ in 2016-17, which may be behind the increase.