Health and care issues

In two weeks over Christmas 2014, 24,589 people waited between 4 and 12 hours on a trolley in hospital before getting a bed.

Accident and emergency saw 77% of patients within four hours against a target of 95%. Waiting times for NHS operations are at an 11-year high, with 3 million waiting. More than 12 hospitals declared a “major incident” because they could not cope.

While NHS spending has been ring-fenced since 2010, social welfare spending has not been. Since 2010, there has been a £3.7bn reduction from previous rates. This is the equivalent to a 12% cut in funding.

The result has been that there are now 294,000 fewer people over 65 receiving state-funded social care than in 2010. 90% of local councils provide care only for those whose needs are “critical” or “substantial”, with little help for those with “moderate” needs.

There has been a 48% increase in people aged over 90 arriving at accident and emergency by ambulance since 2010. Bed-blockers, people who cannot be discharged from hospital because there is nowhere for them to go, occupied NHS beds for 997,226 days last year at a cost of £264m.