Mark Whitehead 13 December 2016

Councils reject 'misleading' claims they are to blame for social care crisis

Town hall chiefs have rejected claims that under-performing councils are partly to blame for the social care crisis.

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association community wellbeing board, said the government claim was 'extremely misleading'.

She said that for most people who were unable to leave hospital it was because they needed further treatment and only a third were waiting for support from social services.

This week Downing Street said under-performing councils were partly to blame for the problems in social care.

Prime minister Theresa May's official spokeswoman said the worst 10% of local authorities had delays in the transfer of elderly people from hospital into care that were 20 times higher than the best-performing 10%, while half of all delayed discharges were in just 20 authorities.

But Cllr Seccombe said: 'It is extremely misleading for the Government to suggest that 20 councils account for half of all delayed discharges from hospital in England.

'Across the country nearly six out of 10 people in hospital are unable to leave because they require further NHS services, with a third awaiting support from council social care. Therefore it is wrong to suggest the blame lies with councils.

'Councils are absolutely committed to reducing the level of delayed discharges and in the vast majority of areas, councils are working with care providers and hospitals to help reduce pressures on the NHS.

'Every council has managed to continue to deliver the support that older and disabled people rely on, despite having had to endure billions of pounds in cuts since 2010.

'While it is great that people are living for longer, this is placing an additional strain on services. We are now at breaking point, and councils have very little room in which to make further savings.

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