The £2bn funding shortfall for social care next year will put health reform plans at risk, according to health campaigners.
The Health Foundation says analysis of local Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for reform of the NHS shows they will hit vulnerable and older people and their families hardest.
The research totted up the estimated funding gaps identified in the local plans to produce a figure for the national shortfall.
It says the unmet needs for services that help people live in their own home is greater for those on low incomes and the gap between rich and poor is widening.
One senior health and social care leader involved in a local plan told the researchers: ‘We’re all looking over the same cliff edge…even if one of the smaller organisations went over, the impact on the rest of the system is huge and then we’d all go over together.’
Anita Charlesworth of the Health Foundation called for a cash injection into social care in next week's budget.
She said: ‘The health service’s own figures suggest that social care needs £2bn of extra funding for next year, in line with other research. The case for funding social care could not be clearer.'
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said STPs would only be successful if the funding gap in social care was addressed.
Margaret Willcox, president elect of ADASS, said: 'With care homes closing, councils projecting in-year overspends of almost £450m, and the cost of the welcome National Living Wage, if STPs are to succeed it is vital that the funding crisis in adult social care is addressed to enable their implementation, as this report highlights.
In next week’s Budget the Chancellor needs to provide genuine new money and a long-term, sustainable solution for adult social care. This will help to ensure STPs are successful by providing dignified care to thousands of older and disabled people and their families who are struggling to manage with services currently in significant and increasing jeopardy.'