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Adult social care saved NHS £60m in past year

Delayed transfers due to social care fall 41% since June 2017

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 24 August 2018

Social care leaders say that adult social care has saved the NHS almost £60m over the last year by reducing bed-blocking pressures.

In a new analysis* by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the organisation said the number of delays to transfers of care – time wasted when people were unable to leave hospital due to a lack of somewhere suitable to receive support – that were attributable to social care had fallen by 41% from a high of 74,228 last March to 40,209 this June.

This had been achieved despite the introduction of relatively small annual cash injections from 2017-8, said ADASS, and over the same period, delays due to the NHS had fallen by 14%.

The NHS’ excess bed days calculations put the saving per day of having one extra bed available in hospital throughout 2016-17 at £313.

ADASS said that over the last year, the number of delayed transfers of care days attributable to adult social care has fallen by 187,864, meaning that there has been a reduction of £58.8m overall in NHS costs, as a result of improved adult social care performance when compared to the previous 12 months.

While welcoming the recently announced additional funds for the NHS, ADASS said social care also needed extra funding so the two sectors could support people getting emergency treatment when needed but live as independently as possible.

ADASS called on the government to urgently bring forward a long-term funding solution for adult social care in its forthcoming green paper, and in the meantime, supply interim funding to help the sector cope with its current pressures.

Julie Ogley, vice president of ADASS, said: “Our health service is the pride of our nation and the envy of the world, and rightly so.

“As the voice of social care teams across the country, ADASS is determined to help social care teams deliver care which both reduces pressure on our NHS and helps people live as independently as possible. This will also help us ensure that people are admitted to hospital only at appropriate times, allowing front-line health service colleagues to get on with the job in hand.

“It’s essential that the government builds on the work of the LGA [Local Government Association] and others in the sector, and deliver the green paper, which must contain a long-term funding solution, as soon as possible.”

James Jamieson, vice chairman of the LGA, said: “Councils have reduced the average number of delayed transfers of care days attributed to social care since June 2017 by 40%, despite significant budget reductions.

“To help councils build on this work and help reduce pressures on the NHS, adult social care needs to be put on an equal footing with the health service.”

*ADASS Budget Survey 2018, prepared by ADASS, 2018.

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