NHS cuts affect social services in over two-thirds of councils

NHS deficits have had an adverse impact on social services in over two-thirds of councils, a Local Government Association survey said yesterday.

Of the 68 per cent of councils who claimed they had been hit by health service cuts, 40 per cent said cost-shunting had got worse this year, while 36 per cent predicted that things would get worse next year. Just over 1 per cent said things would get better.

LGA chair Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: “Councils do not want to start a war of words with the NHS. The only way we will overcome these worrying problems is to work closer together.”

However, the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS trusts, described the LGA’s action in producing the survey as “frustrating”.

David Stout, chair of the confederation’s primary care trust network, cited a survey of PCT chief executives last year which found that over half had seen their neighbouring council tighten eligibility criteria for care. Of these, three-quarters said this had had an adverse effect on the PCT’s services.

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