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Government claims credit for NHS success

Calls for Dilnot advice to be put in place for social care

Louise Prime

Tuesday, 08 January 2013

The NHS is starting to see ‘significant improvements in outcomes and productivity’, the Coalition Government has claimed in its mid-term review – and it says this is thanks to its programme of investment and reform and protection of the health budget. The Government stated that its reforms have given patients and communities ‘more choice and a stronger voice’.

David Cameron also said there would be “more help with the costs of long-term care”.

The Government renewed its commitment to continued investment in the health and care services, with a real-terms increase in the health budget, and to its four key priorities: reducing preventable early death; improving the standard of care that people receive; improving the treatment and care of people with dementia, mental illness and other long-term conditions; and bringing the technology revolution to the health and care sectors.

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar (pictured) welcomed the Government’s assurance on the health budget. He said: “The commitment to an increase in health funding is a sign of the high regard in which NHS and social care are held in this country, and we need to make sure we demonstrate every penny of value we deliver.

However, he warned that the Government must also tackle the problems that remain regarding social care funding, and their impact on the NHS.

He said: “We know that the financial pressures on the health service are increasing as costs of care and demands on our services grow, and we strive to find the £20bn in savings needed to cover this.

“While we are pleased the Government remains committed to reforming social care funding, we desperately need to see more detail about how we will progress this and in what timeframe.

“Both the NHS and local government are under immense financial pressures. Any further procrastination on social care funding will be further exacerbated by the short-term reductions in local council funding from next year.

“The NHS and social care are two sides of the same coin, and older people and their carers do not stop needing support just because the money isn’t there. We know there is a real danger that when social care support decreases it has a knock on impact on the NHS.

“We need to address this issue now or risk paying the price further down the line. Without urgent reform, we will see a decline in services and greater pressure building on the NHS.”

The Royal College of Nursing welcomed the focus on addressing the “hugely important issue” of social care funding but called for a pledge to implement the Dilnot recommendations. RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “There needs to be much more detail about how the Government is going to deliver a system that is fit for purpose … We believe that the Dilnot Commission, with its recommended cap of £35,000 for social care costs, provided a workable solution to social care funding.” He said the Dilnot recommendations should be implemented as soon as possible.

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