Now that the government has formally acknowledged the link between health and social care, London Councils is calling for hard-pressed social care services to be recognised in any new funding settlement announced for the 70th anniversary of the NHS in July.
While welcoming suggestions that the government is set to boost health service funding, London Councils warns that the fragile state of social care finances leads to more pressure on hospitals and has the potential to undermine the sustainability of the entire health and care system.
Reductions to boroughs’ budgets combined with a growing and ageing population means the capital faces a £300 million funding shortfall for adult social care by 2020.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ Executive member for health and care, said:
“The government is right to recognise the pressures on the NHS and Londoners will certainly welcome an increase in health service funding.
“But as the NHS also appreciates, the financial challenges faced by health and social care services are deeply interconnected. The benefits of boosting NHS funding would be severely limited if the silo approach to funding continues and the issue of social care finances remains unaddressed.
“A sustainable, high-performing health and care system depends on adequately funded social care. Social care services are essential not only for meeting people’s needs and supporting their wellbeing at home – they also help the NHS by keeping people out of hospital or by enabling swift transfers of care, which reduce pressure on hospital beds and on A&E waiting times.”
“This is why it’s vital that any additional government funding available for the NHS must come hand in hand with more money for social care.”
While the government provided an additional £150m for the social care budgets of local authorities in England earlier this year, social care funding is not keeping pace with rising levels of demand.
The government has promised to publish a green paper on social care for older people this summer. London Councils is urging ministers to use the green paper as an opportunity to develop a long-term solution for the future funding of social care. Placing social care finances on a firm footing is an essential step towards deeper integration of health and care, which will drive improvements to Londoners’ health and to the sustainability of services.
Notes to Editors:
- For further information or interview requests, please contact the London Councils press office on 020 7934 9970.