NHS Leaders Suggest £2 Billion Additional Social Care Funding is Insufficient

NHS leaders have warned that the additional £2 billion set aside for social care will fail to deliver “anything like the level of resource” intended.

It has been known for some time that this critical aspect of the healthcare system is seriously struggling, and some of the most authoritative individuals working within healthcare have suggested that plans to reform social care are fundamentally flawed.

Chancellor Philip Hammond had cited the $2 billion of additional funding as evidence that the Tories were “the party of the NHS”.

And the future of the health service has already become a major battleground in the forthcoming general election.

It was asserted that the additional cash, spread over the next three years, will free up in the region of 2,500 acute hospital beds.

This will be achieved by speeding up the discharge of care, equivalent to approximately five hospitals in the 2017/18 financial year alone.

Yet NHS leaders now indicates that early discussions with local government suggests that the new cash will be utilised by councils to fill existing budget deficits, stabilise private sector providers, and meet new staff costs following the invitation of the national living wage, rather than improving services.

With the NHS having been seriously overstretched during the last winter period, senior NHS individuals warned that additional plans will be required if a crisis is to be avoided in the 2017/18 period.

Already there are serious concerns about the forthcoming winter, and NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson stated that local authorities will not receive the level of funding that has been suggested by the Conservatives.

“Trust leaders are doing all they can to secure NHS benefit from the extra social care funding allocated in the budget. However, for reasons we understand, early indications suggest that the NHS will not see anything like the level of resource from social care to reduce delayed transfers of care and safely manage next winter.”

Hopson cited the Better Care Fund as an example of how there can be a chasm between expectations and logistical realities.

“As the Better Care Fund has showed, you can’t spend the same pound twice. So if the NHS can’t secure the extra capacity it needs from social care funding, we have to find it another way. Developing an NHS plan B to navigate next winter must be one of the new ministerial team’s top priorities”.

The budget, published in March, had indicated that the £2 billion would be handed out between 2017/18 and 2019/20 “to help ensure people receive the social care support they need and to reduce pressure on the NHS”.

However, NHS organisations have no influence over how the money will be spent.

Despite the debate over the healthcare system and NHS, it seems inevitable that the Tories will achieve a majority in the general election, following excellent council results for the party.


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