NHS relies on help from social care

Social services are no longer the "poor relation"
of health services and the government is now relying on social care to put its
extra Budget cash to work to help deliver a better NHS, health secretary Alan
Milburn told the RCN Congress.

Stating that the problems in hospitals could
not be solved by more staff and new equipment alone, Milburn called for
"better help and more support in the community, in primary care and in
social services".

He said that, thanks to the Budget, social
services would have extra resources to stabilise the care homes market and buy
more care home beds.

"We can now set ourselves the objective,
not just of giving older people a choice of care in a care home, but of
increasing the number of people who can be cared for in their own home,"
he said.

Describing the future for health and social
care as a bright one thanks to plans to fund services over five years instead
of one, Milburn said: "Years of failure to invest are now being replaced
with years of investment for the future.

"And the same is true of social care. For
too long, social services have been the poor relation of health services.
Health and social care are two sides of the same coin. They both rely on each
other, but older people rely on both."

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