William Eichler 17 October 2018

Healthcare groups call for ‘long-term investment’ in adult social care

Council chiefs have backed up a call from 10 leading healthcare groups urging the Government to invest more in adult social care and public health services.

In an open letter to Philip Hammond, the healthcare groups called for ‘a long-term investment in adult social care and public health services and workforce.’

‘Without renewed investment in these areas,’ they wrote, ‘plans for truly integrated care will not be possible and consequent demand on NHS services will not be manageable.’

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board, supported the letter’s message and warned that adult social care was ‘at breaking point and in desperate need of genuinely new funding to secure its future.’

Adult social care faces a £3.5bn funding gap by 2025 just to maintain existing standards of care, the LGA has calculated.

There has also been a £600m reduction to councils’ public health grants between 2015/16 and 2019/20.

‘If services caring for older and disabled people are not properly funded, both they and our patients in primary and secondary care suffer,’ warned the healthcare groups.

‘People who could and should be supported in the community will remain stranded in our waiting rooms and hospital. This not only leads to poorer outcomes for them, it significantly reduces the resources available to treat other patients.’

Cllr Hudspeth said that despite the funding pressures councils had made ‘great progress in reducing the number of people in hospital due to a lack of available social care.’

He said it was essential that Whitehall put adult social care on an ‘equal footing’ with health services.

‘Without new funding we risk going backwards and undoing the great work that has been achieved to date. This will impact on people across the country.’

‘Social care, public health and other council services that support people’s wider wellbeing help people live longer, healthier and happier lives, but the reality is that many local authorities are having to make difficult decisions on these key services, including stopping them altogether, further compounding the pressures on GP surgeries and hospitals,’ Cllr Hudspeth concluded.

To read about Sir Andrew Dilnot's solutions to the social care funding crisis visit The MJ (£).

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