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Trusts welcome additional social care funding

Health & social care secretary announces extra £240m for social care, to cut pressure on NHS

Louise Prime

Tuesday, 02 October 2018

NHS leaders have welcomed the health and social care secretary’s announcement of an extra £240m for social care funding in England, aimed at relieving the pressure on the NHS. But NHS Providers this morning also called for bold action from the government to put social care on a sustainable footing, and the Labour party accused the Conservatives of just “tinkering at the edges” and said this would not solve the social care crisis.

Matt Hancock, ahead of his speech this afternoon to the Conservative party annual conference in Birmingham today, has announced an additional £240m funding for social care ahead of winter. He said this funding will allow local authorities to ensure that is there is appropriate care in place for people in their own communities, for example through care packages, and adaptions to their homes, which in turn will ease pressure on the NHS.

NHS Providers said that trusts will strongly welcome the extra funding – which it called for last month – allowing for prompt discharge from hospital into appropriate care. Its chief executive Chris Hopson said: “Delays in transferring patients to care outside of hospital have been a focal point of winter pressure on the health system. These waits are not good for patients, families or NHS staff working under pressure. Trusts and local authorities have worked incredibly hard over the year to reduce these delays. But after a difficult summer of record-breaking demand, trusts are not in the position they would want to be in heading into winter. This extra money will definitely help and we therefore welcome it.”

However, he added: “For the long-term the government’s forthcoming green paper must propose bold action to put social care on the sustainable footing it so desperately needs.”

Labour’s shadow cabinet member for social care, Barbara Keeley MP, responded with disdain to Matt Hancock’s announcement. She said this morning: “There is a severe crisis in social care caused by eight years of Tory austerity, and tinkering at the edges like this is not going to solve it.

“With 400,000 fewer people receiving care under this government than in 2010, funding such a small number of care packages is a drop in the ocean.

“Labour will rebuild social care services, starting with an extra £8 billion across a parliament to start to ease the crisis, to lift care quality and ensure more people get the support they need.”

Also today, NHS Digital released figures* showing that an increasing number of people who receive council funded or managed care – or their family – are paying towards their care and support; the proportion has risen from 35.3% in 2016-17 to 36.7% in 2017-18. Its latest survey also revealed that a much higher proportion of people in residential or nursing care said they felt as safe as they wanted (86.8% and 82.7% respectively), compared with those in a community setting (63.6%). Just under two-thirds (65.0%) of service users reported being extremely or very satisfied with the care and support they receive.

*Personal Social Services Adult Social Care Survey, England 2017-18. NHS Digital, October 2018.

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