Tag Archives: Death

When a deaf singer gets death threats from other deaf people, something’s wrong | Josh Salisbury

When the America’s Got Talent finalist Mandy Harvey first appeared on the show, she caused a social media storm. Harvey became deaf due to an illness, but decided to pursue her love of music, feeling the beat of the music through her feet. However, her singing caused a backlash among a very small minority, who sent Harvey death threats for promoting a “hearing” activity.

There is a long history of oppression faced by profoundly deaf individuals of which most hearing people are too little aware. Sign languages have historically been the target of repression, and many who are profoundly deaf have suffered at the hands of hearing people. Oralism – the practice of favouring speech over sign in deaf education – and the assumption that speech is an inherently superior form of communication can be damaging, both to deaf individuals and the deaf community. Even today, organisations will equate speech with potential, ignoring an equally valid language and culture in sign.

Deaf people – those whose preferred language is sign and belong to the capital D “Deaf community” – have had to fight for their rights, language and culture against this oppression. In that context, the strong feelings of an unrepresentative few can be understood, even if their behaviour can’t be condoned.

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Mandy Harvey: Deaf Singer Earns Simon’s Golden Buzzer With Original Song – America’s Got Talent 2017

The Harvey story, however, reopened the binary oralist versus signing argument. A recent segment on BBC’s Newsnight reporting on the story asked whether we should “promote oralism in the deaf community”. That’s such a frustrating way of framing the debate. The focus should be how we can spread awareness and greater accessibility for everyone, not forcing deaf or hard-of-hearing people to declare themselves as belonging to a speaking or signing camp.

Increasing our deaf awareness is a lesson we can all continually learn, even those with the best of intentions. Newsnight’s producers deserve some kudos for attempting to draw attention to an under-represented issue, and for inviting deaf guests on television. Paradoxically, however, the clip was not accessible to many viewers. There were no subtitles for those struggling to follow the British Sign Language interpreter. The camera panned away from signing guests, breaking the flow of conversation for anyone following along.

I’m severely deaf, and was born to a hearing family. Instead of being taught sign, I was taught to lip-read, and went to speech therapy classes. I rely on my hearing aids and I have a well-honed instinct for when to smile and nod during a conversation, if what’s being said escapes me. But the dichotomy between sign and speech can leave people like me feeling stuck between two worlds: too deaf for the hearing, too hearing for the deaf.

It also risks promoting a myth of a militant deaf community, acting as jealous gatekeepers of what it really means to be deaf. A casual observer reading the story about Harvey could be forgiven for thinking that the deaf community, in America or elsewhere, is far more intolerant than it really is.

It would be more productive to ask how we can make things more accessible for deaf people, accounting for their needs and choices. Deafness is a spectrum, and our needs will vary. For some people, signing is a more accessible way of communicating than speaking. For others, speaking and lip-reading work for them.

Hearing people need to play their part in this. Practically, this can be something as small as not turning your back when speaking, or enunciating clearly to make lip-reading easier. But more fundamentally, it means a normative change in how deafness and deaf people are viewed. Deaf people are commonly seen as broken – in need of fixing. But with deafness can come a rich and vibrant language in sign, and a culture and community based on that.

Hearing people need to be sensitive to that fact when thinking about deafness. There are, for instance, endless videos on social media of deaf children given cochlear implants, hearing sounds for the first time, often shared by hearing people as inspirational modern-day miracles. Yet to many signing deaf people, they can represent something far more sinister: the absence of choice and the removal of deaf culture. The implicit message of such videos can be to underscore the supposed superiority of speech over sign.

However, we also need to be careful about how we refer to other people with hearing loss. To refer to someone as “oral” can be an insult – a way of denoting that someone isn’t truly deaf. But being born into a speaking family, and communicating by speaking doesn’t invalidate my deafness.

We don’t need to reductively frame this as a clash of communication. Deaf people, whether they choose to sign, to speak or both ought not be forced to pick sides. In moving beyond the dualism, we can focus on what matters: making a world that is accessible to everyone who is deaf, however they may experience that.

Josh Salisbury is a freelance journalist who writes about politics, disability and books

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.

England and Wales death rate rise linked to longer stays in hospital

The sharp rise in the death rate in recent years could be down to the number of people being kept too long in hospital, inadequate social care and austerity-linked pressures on the NHS, academics say.

About 7,800 extra deaths a year in England and Wales are being caused by the dramatic increase in the number of people being forced to stay in hospital longer than necessary because they cannot safely be discharged, it is claimed.

A total of 39,074 more deaths than usual occurred between July 2014 and June 2015 – the biggest year-on-year rise in mortality for 50 years. Most involved frail, elderly people. That higher mortality rate has continued in the two years since.

Although being in hospital should be a safe environment for older patients, senior doctors warn that their greater vulnerability to hospital-acquired infections such as C difficile, pneumonia and MRSA, and increased frailty due to lack of physical activity, can undermine their health.

Academics who have studied death rates and the performance of the NHS and social care systems during that time believe that a fifth of the extra deaths in 2014-15 – about 7,800 in all – may have been directly attributable to patients being stuck in hospital.

“We demonstrate a positive association between the number of acute patients delayed in being discharged, and the cumulative amount of time acute patients were delayed, to the monthly number of deaths and mortality rate,” write the authors from Liverpool, Oxford, Glasgow and York universities in a research paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Our results present evidence that a lower quality of performance of the NHS and adult social care as a result of austerity may be having an adverse impact on population health [and] may help explain part of the increases in mortality rates experienced in England from at least 2015 and onwards.”

Dr Taj Hassan, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said: “Delayed transfers of care contribute to increased hospital mortality rates but we recognise that there are many other factors involved, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their illness or injury.”

Patients trapped in hospital beds they are fit to leave create “exit block” so hospitals become unable to admit new emergency cases fast enough, Hassan said. “We’ve previously estimated that exit block accounts for a significant number of avoidable deaths, with over 500,000 patients affected by it each year in the UK.

“Waiting to be discharged when ready to leave hospital also impacts on a patient’s health, for example through serious muscle wastage.”

Experts in older people’s care voiced deep unease at the report’s conclusions. Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “We already knew that being stuck in a hospital bed when you’re medically fit to leave undermines your chances of a full recovery. But this research raises the worrying question of whether in some instances it may shorten your life as well.”

Janet Morrison, the chief executive of the charity Independent Age, said: “These deeply worrying findings raise important new questions about the link between a surge in delayed discharges and the tragic human cost of those delays.”

The authors, led by Dr Mark Green of Liverpool university, said their results were “observational and associational”. Despite that, they said the issues raised deserved urgent attention because: “We have shown that the increasing prevalence of delayed discharges within hospitals occurred as mortality rates rose in England.”

NHS leaders have blamed the big increase in delayed transfers of care in recent years on local councils’ inability to provide packages of care quick enough for patients to safely leave hospital and go home or to other care, such as a nursing home. Local authority leaders point out that Whitehall-imposed cuts to town hall budgets had hit the provision of social care.

NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health spokesman said: “Whilst the results of this research are limited, we are clear that no one should have to stay in a hospital bed longer than necessary.

“Both the NHS and local authorities have set ambitious targets to tackle this issue, supported by an additional £2bn of funding for social care from this government.”

Theresa May has pledged to bring forward a green paper on reforming social care and create a system that is sustainable long-term, given the ageing population and pressure on public finances.