The government has pledged an extra £70m for reablement services in England over the next six months to support an estimated 35,000 people leaving hospital.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley said the funding, which will be allocated to primary care trusts and shared across the health and social care system, would help people regain their independence and remain in their own homes.
Our findings prompted the government to promise guidance instructing councils not to charge, while one local authority, West Sussex, suspended its charges as a result.
Richard Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said the announcement was “good news” following the association’s call for tighter integration of health and social care services.
“This is an encouraging first step towards ensuring that sensible, effective preventive services can be put in place quickly and carefully so that the NHS can be spared the expense of unnecessary and disruptive readmissions,” he said.
However, he stressed that the funding should build on existing services that both support people to return home and prevent the need for readmission into hospital or residential and nursing care.
“The resource, and the requirement to agree joint plans for its use, signal an important step on the necessary journey to further integration,” he said.
Lansley added: “Reablement will give opportunities for the NHS and councils, by working together locally, to make savings. Services of this kind have shown dramatic benefits in supporting people and cutting readmission to hospital. Our objective is for people to be once again independent in their own homes.”
The £70m for reablement funding has come from savings from central Department of Health budgets. It will be issued from next month onwards and covers the remainder of this financial year.
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