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Doctors say Budget must deliver more social care cash

In a letter to chancellor George Osborne they say cuts are putting pressure on the NHS

Mark Gould

Monday, 14 March 2016

Doctors' leaders from the 14 largest specialities have written to George Osborne asking for further funding for social care in this week's Budget.

In a letter to the chancellor, they said cuts in social care funding were putting real pressure on the NHS and that investing in social care was "vital to the success of the NHS".

The government said it was already giving local authorities access to up to £3.5bn of new funding for adult social care by 2019-20.

The signatories to the letter are led by Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and include the leaders of a number of royal medical colleges and societies.

In their letter to the chancellor, they describe health and social care as "two sides of the same coin".

The letter describes the impact of an underfunded social care system on the NHS, saying patients fit to be discharged are unable to leave hospital because social support is unavailable at home leaving them vulnerable to infections and falls, they write.

The knock-on effect is that beds are blocked to new patients, they continue, "leading to cancelled appointments and operations".

"This impacts on our ability to provide timely treatment and meet treatment targets, risking patient wellbeing, and is ultimately detrimental to the economy through delayed returns to work," they wrote.

The doctors also said the plans for social care funding contained in the comprehensive spending review "will not suffice".

In the letter, they suggest bringing forward the extra £700m from the Better Care Fund to this year rather than waiting until 2017, when the money was due to be spread over three years.

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens has previously said that the success of the Five Year Forward View is dependent on adequate funding for social care.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said it was essential that older and vulnerable people got the care they deserved.

"That's why we have given local authorities access to up to £3.5bn to spend on social care and councils will have almost £200 billion to spend on local services over the lifetime of this parliament."

The signatories to the letter are:

  • Miss Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • Prof Dame Sue Bailey, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Prof John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health
  • Dr Anna Batchelor, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine
  • Dr Liam Brennan, president of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • Prof Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians
  • Mr Michael Lavelle-Jones, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Dr Suzy Lishman, president of the Royal College of Pathologists
  • Prof Carrie MacEwen, president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • Dr Giles Maskell, president of the Royal College of Radiologists
  • Prof Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Prof David Oliver, president of the British Geriatrics Society
  • Dr David Richmond, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Prof Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

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