Ministers have considered shifting £400m in NHS funding to adult social care to protect them from harmful cuts, it was reported today.
The news follows a call from Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Richard Jones for NHS funding to be shunted into adult social care to mitigate the impact of prospective cuts of 25% in government funding from 2011-15. By contrast, the NHS will receive real-terms funding increases during this period.
In an interview with Community Care last week, Jones said some councils were having to consider cuts of up to 40% from 2011-15 as a result of demographic pressures from the rising numbers of older and disabled people.
He said the NHS would suffer through increased hospital readmissions and delayed discharges if swingeing cuts were made to social care.
Today, Health Service Journal reported that the Department of Health had considered calling for a £400m shift from the NHS to social care as part of its submission to the Treasury’s spending review, which will set public spending limits from 2011-15.
It is not clear whether this was included in the DH’s final submission to the Treasury, which will publish the review on 20 October.
The sum equates to about 2.5% of the annual English adult social care budget and 0.4% of the NHS budget. It is also equivalent to the amount of DH funding that the Labour government had earmarked to transfer to social care to fund its policy to provide free personal care at home, which the coalition will not implement.