Warrington North MP Helen Jones has condemned a decision by Cheshire and Merseyside NHS to offer elderly people leaving hospital only one choice of care home and has said that local council officers should never have agreed to it.

The MP said that the decision followed a telephone conference call with local authorities and CCGs on 6th March but has not been announced publicly.

Helen Jones MP said:

“The NHS has implemented an emergency protocol meaning that people are no longer offered a choice of two care homes. Instead people are offered only one choice and, if their choice is not available, then they are to be moved to an interim placement until it becomes available.

“This is a scandalous way to treat frail and elderly people who may now have to move twice. We know that these moves have a damaging impact on older people’s health and we also know that, as reported in the local media, more than one in five of care homes in Warrington are deemed to be substandard.

“This is not the way NHS managers or council officers would want their frail or elderly parents treated and, if it is not good enough for them, then it is not good enough for anyone else either.

“This suspension of patient choice was implemented as part of emergency measures taken by the NHS. Yet if the government funded it properly our health service would not be in such a state.

“I understand that the council officer agreed to this on the grounds that, ‘it is currently more unsafe for people to be in hospital if they are medically fit for discharge.’  This is arguable, especially if they are having to move twice and are not being allowed a choice of where they go. This decision should not have been made by an officer.

“It is scandalous to treat elderly people, who have worked all their lives, in this way and illustrates the scale of the funding crisis in our NHS and social care.”