20 MAR 2018
Thank you for taking the time to email me about social care and the Age UK event on the 28th of March, I have put this in my diary.
On the issue of funding for the NHS and social care, I will be raising this again directly with the PM when she comes to the Liaison Committee which I chair and the underpinning issues of funding, workforce and a whole system approach to health and social care remain at the heart of my work.
I hope the following information on this topic from the Department for Health and Social Care is reassuring:
It is important to ensure that as people receive dignified care in old age. This is one of the biggest challenges our country faces, with an ageing population. The Government recognises the current pressures facing local areas. Since 2015 local authorities have had greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money for adult social care. Local authorities have greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money as well as retaining savings from the New Homes Bonus, totalling £240 million.
In 2017, the Chancellor committed an additional £2 billion to councils in England over the next three years to spend on adult social care services. £1 billion was provided in 2017-18, to enable immediate action. Since 2015, councils will have access in total to £9.25 billion more dedicated funding for social care over the next three years. The Autumn Budget provides £42 million additional funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant in 2017-18, which will support people with disabilities stay in their own homes throughout their care for as long as possible. This investment is central to the Government's efforts to reduce delayed transfers of care from the NHS to social care, and freed-up three thousand hospital beds this winter.
Money alone will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. Some councils already provide high quality social care within their existing budgets, showing that reform can be achieved and half of all delayed discharges from hospital to home arise in just 24 local authorities. It is vital for us to consider ways of better joining up health and care services, and the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated health and care services is encouraging.
The Government is currently producing a Green Paper, which will establish a new social care policy for the future. This will see a care policy which will meet the challenges of an ageing population, and will grapple with how to properly integrate health and social care, and make sure social care is financially sustainable in the long term. There have been many consultations into care policy over the years; however the upcoming Green Paper will usher in a real cultural change into how we tackle the issues of an aging population as a society.
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