Additional local social care funding is vital if the NHS is to have a sustainable financial future without longer waiting times, NHS Providers has said in its Autumn Statement submission.
The body has called on the Government to extend funding beyond hospitals and into the areas of greatest need across localities.
It said that social care investment should be brought forward in this parliament, with an additional £1.5bn a year by 2019/20 through the better care fund.
It also called for councils to have the freedoms to raise the social care precept – allowing them to invest further in services.
Council chiefs have supported the call for additional social care funding.
Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'It is essential if we are to move away from just trying to keep people alive to ensuring they can live independent, fulfilling lives, as well as alleviating the pressure on the NHS.
'Our analysis has found that social care for the elderly and disabled faces a funding gap of at least £2.6bn.
'It is vital for our elderly and disabled population that the Government uses the Autumn Statement to provide the funding for adult social care that councils need to ensure we have a care system fit for the 21st century.'
NHS Providers believe funding for local services such as social care and general practice will relieve A&E departments with so-called ‘bed blocking’ and a lack of available community services costing the NHS trusts £820m per year.
Measures to improve services outside hospitals can have a profound impact on the acute sector’s ability to provide the best care for their local communities, it claims.
NHS Providers chief executive, Chris Hopson, said: 'Investing in general practice and social care, as well as stopping the raids on capital spending to ensure our hospitals and other buildings are fit for purpose, must be an urgent priority.
'This would help GPs and care services to ease the rising pressure on hospital, ambulance, community and mental health trusts, which in turn would improve the quality of care people receive.
'The NHS has shown that with the right support it can transform services and deliver efficiency savings, so we believe these measures would produce a strong and immediate return on investment for the Treasury.'
For more on local funding ahead of the Autumn Statement visit The MJ (£).