The second half of my time spent with Government Cabinet Member, Theresa Villiers, was at Age UK Sutton. We met users of their Information and Advisory Service who told us how valued their contact was at a time that they most needed it. Chief Executive Marion Harper and her colleagues discussed how they were tackling loneliness among the elderly and helping with the transition between leaving hospital after an extended stay and the return to living independently at home.

This is a huge issue with hospital beds often being hard to come by when patients are not discharged because of the difficulties of a return home rather than for clinical reasons. The more that organisations like Age UK can do to act in this area, the better for the smooth running of the NHS and the local authority’s Adult Social Services and of course, reducing the significant costs involved in ‘bed blocking.’