Yesterday, the Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget 2017. Without a single mention of social care, older people or disabilities, it has been called 'a disservice to the critical lifeline that social care represents' by Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum.
There was, however, extra money allocated for the NHS. The Chancellor committed £2.8bn to the NHS in England with £350m of immediate funding to allow trusts to plan for this winter. There was also an announcement of the National Living Wage increase, which will rise to £7.83 in April.
Vic commented, 'The Chancellor’s decision not to address the funding shortfall in social care within today’s Budget is a disservice to the critical lifeline that social care represents everyday on the lives of the millions of people who use services and those that care for them. Whilst we welcome the short-term injection in health funding, this will not directly address the needs of social care.'
Dr Rhidian Hughes, VODG Chief Executive was clear on the impact the lack of money for social care will have on the sector. He said, 'Government’s continued failure to fund social care has consequences. It means that unmet need is rising with devastating effects on people who rely on care services. It means that local services continue to erode and the workforce will not receive the required investment in training and skills. It means that the Care Quality Commission’s warnings about the sustainability of provision are not being acted upon. It means that additional pressures will be put on the NHS.'
Richard Kramer, Deputy Chief Executive of Sense was quick to point out the impact that social care has on the NHS. He said, 'Although it is positive to see the Government taking action to address the pressure that the NHS is facing, it is disappointing that they haven’t acknowledged the important role that social care plays in managing the strain on the health system.
'If the Government wishes to ease pressure on the NHS, it must also act urgently to protect social care. It must recognise the important link between the health and care services by ensuring that its plans for the social care system are sustainable, so that it can deliver the reform that is necessary for both systems to survive and support each other.'
It appears that the sector must now wait for the Green Paper on care and support for older people expected next summer, but as Vic concluded, 'The role of the Green Paper in identifying a long-term sustainable solution for social care has never seemed so urgent.'