The government has announced a cash injection of £240 million for social care services as it looks to ease pressure on the NHS this winter.
Speaking at the Conservative party conference yesterday (2 October), health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said the government would provide extra money for social care packages to support the NHS and help “get people who don’t need to be in hospital…back home”.
Hancock continued, saying the government intended for the funds to be used by the sector to “free up vital hospitals bed” and “help people get the hospital care they deserve”.
Not the answer
Despite welcoming the “desperately-needed” cash injection, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community well being board, councillor Ian Hudspeth, said “short-term bailouts [would not be] the answer” to the sector pressures.
“Councils successfully used extra social care funding from the government last year to reduce delayed transfer of care days attributable to social care by 37 per cent since July and alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS. This has proved that there cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable social care system.”
“The government must use its own upcoming adult social care green paper to address the fundamental problems facing adult social care and ensure full and sustainable funding, so that people will always have access to quality and reliable care and support that helps them live independent, dignified lives.”
President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Glen Garrod, responded in similar fashion to the announcement.
“This funding can only be a temporary and partial ‘fix’ – we need to go much further, much faster, if we are to truly support people in the community. This can only be achieved with greater co-ordination between health, social care and housing services and through a long-term settlement for adult social care.”
“Ensuring social care is sustainably funded is important for all of us – whether it’s our grandparents who need support to live in their communities or specialist care for adults with learning disabilities, it’s crucial as a society we offer personalised care, which takes the individual being supported as it’s starting point. We look forward to seeing more in the upcoming green paper about how a long-term funding settlement will do this.”
Drop in the ocean
Shadow health secretary Barbara Keeley criticised the government’s continued lack of investment for social care services.
“There is a severe crisis in social care caused by eight years of Tory austerity and tinkering at the edges like this is not going to solve it. With 400,000 fewer people receiving care under this government than in 2010, funding such a small number of care packages is a drop in the ocean.”
With the social care green paper due this autumn, Hancock added the government was working on a “long-term plan” to help protect the future of the health and social care services.
“I know that money alone isn’t enough. We need to make sure that money is well spent by reforming the NHS and the social care to make sure that it is always there for you and your family.”