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Extra funding for social care: “this is a national crisis that needs a national solution”

Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society

“BGS welcomes any changes to funding of social care that help to address the current crisis that is having a direct impact on the healthcare of older people living with frailty – BGS members see the knock-on effects on a daily basis when older people present at A&E departments and when their discharge from hospital is a delayed because of a lack of capacity in the social care sector.

“However, we are concerned that by allowing local authorities to increase council tax and to ring-fence the additional money to pay for social care, that not only does it avoid the need for a more fundamental review of social care funding, but it may in practice re-inforce inequalities in health and social care.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment made in yesterday’s Question Time, to find a sustainable solution for the future. BGS therefore supports the call by Sarah Wollaston MP for cross-party talks to find a long term solution for social care, and hopes that these will take place as a matter of urgency.”

Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

“The Government cannot ignore the call, from both the NHS and Local Government, to act and avoid a crisis in social care this winter. While this announcement is a step in the right direction it does not go far enough.

“A shortage in adequate social care puts real pressure on hospitals as more people end up in A&E and cannot be discharged when they are fit and ready to go.

“This relatively small cash boost fails to address the long-term funding shortfall and so while we welcome the promise of a review into the sustainability of social care, it must happen quickly.”

Richard Humphries, Assistant Director for Policy for The King’s Fund

“The new support grant for social care and the decision to allow councils to raise more money through Council Tax over the next two years is belated recognition of the huge pressures on social care, but it is nowhere near enough to address next year’s funding gap.

“The emphasis on the precept risks increasing the inequalities that mean the wealthiest parts of the country can raise up to three times as much as poorer areas. Simply passing the problem to councils to solve is inadequate.

“While the Prime Minister has committed to finding a sustainable long-term solution, there is an urgent need to explain how this will be developed. In the meantime, older people, their families and carers are being let down by a failure of political leadership.

“This once again underlines the need for fundamental reform to put social care on a sustainable footing for the future. A frank and open debate with the public, building on the work of the Barker Commission to deliver a new settlement for health and social care is long overdue. Successive governments have ducked this challenge.”

Professor Jane Dacre, RCP president

“The announcement for more money for social care is welcome but today’s announcement does not go far enough – either in its scope or its long term support. We know that in that in the last 6 years social care budgets have shrunk by £5 billion and that this, in combination with an aging population, has had a huge impact on the NHS, leading  to delayed discharges of patients and quite simply people not being treated in the right place for them.

“The underfunding of social care is one of the main contributing factors that is impacting on our NHS and it is clear that health and social care can no longer be treated as separate issues. This is a national crisis that needs national solutions, we need fundamental reform of how social  care is delivered.”

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