Lib Dem Group Lead on Adult Social Care, Richard Kemp says: “We are getting stories through from local council groups about their local Clinical Commissioning Groups and how they are responding to winter pressures and whether or not sufficient support is being given to social care. For example, one county group has found that a local CCG has cut millions of pounds to tackle “bed blocking” measures – an example from Hertfordshire is below.”

Liberal Democrats at County Hall have slammed the Herts Valley CCG for its sudden announcement that it is terminating its support for anti-bed blocking measures in the west of the county.

Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Chris White (St Albans Central), said: “This is a shocking decision. No warning was given of what amounts to a reversal of Government policy to integrate health and social care.

“It seems that NHS England has decided to punish the CCG for non-delivery of their NHS efficiency savings and because of additional demand at Watford General Hospital. The CCG has been told that it is in official ‘financial turnaround’ and it has accordingly decided to cease providing £8.5 million of ‘protection of adult social care’ monies to Hertfordshire County Council.

“These monies are used to provide home care and intermediate beds, as well as preventative measures.

“It is legally questionable whether the entire amount can be terminated and we understand Herts CC will be considering a legal challenge. This we fully support.”

Chris added: ‘No-one in Hertfordshire will benefit. If beds are blocked, procedures will be delayed and patients will be made to wait longer for hospital admission because people are being kept in hospital unnecessarily. The personal and financial costs of being in a hospital are huge – especially when the alternative is being cared for at home after release from hospital.

“It is just financially wasteful to keep someone in hospital longer than needed – as well as a poor way of ensuring appropriate recovery and recuperation.”

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