Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock has announced funding for social care totalling £240m.
The money is intended to help reduce delayed transfers of care and will be allocated to councils based on the adult social care relative needs formula.
The sector has responded to this announcement, with many welcoming the funding for social care but saying that it is not a long-term solution.
Councillor David Williams, County Councils Network (CCN) spokesman for health and social care and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said, '[This] announcement of desperately-needed resource for social care ahead of the busy winter period is very welcome. County local authorities have had to save over £700m this year from their budgets – largely due to social care pressures. We welcome the government’s recognition of the County Councils Network’s calls for additional resources and this will help councils continue their impressive record in working innovatively to reduce delayed discharges from hospitals and ensure that patients do not stay in hospital longer than they need to.
'However, this one-off, in-year funding cannot underpin ongoing resourcing and workforce strategies and perpetuates a trend of short-termism we have seen from successive governments when it comes to adult social care. With the 36 county authorities in the CCN membership facing a funding black hole of £1.4bn next year, further injection of funding for all services will be required for the next financial year in excess of what councils will receive from today’s announcement.
'CCN has long argued for a more preventative focus in any health and social care reform, and today’s announcement is a recognition that there needs to be a broader focus than just supporting those in crisis. However, councils need a long-term solution. How we fund social care, as well as how we protect individuals from huge care costs, must be outlined in the forthcoming social care Green Paper. Above all, if system reform is to be successfully implemented, then councils need to be at the heart of change.'
Commenting on the announcement, George McNamara, Director of Policy at Independent Age said, 'The social care budget has been cut by the equivalent of over £2m a day since 2010, so this announcement simply rolls back cuts over the past four months. This announcement is a headline-grabbing gesture, but in reality it is woefully inadequate to address the long-term funding crisis in social care. Introducing free personal care for all older people in England is not only the best way to tackle this finding crisis, but it would also mean that many older people would get the care packages they need earlier, avoiding the need to go into hospital.
'The government needs to face up to its responsibility to millions of older people and their families and put in place provision for free personal care, supported by sustainable funding, that will allow local authorities and providers to put in place a skilled workforce and high-quality services that meet demand for care services now and in the future.'
The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) says the funding for social care is welcome, but we need a sustainable financial settlement. The group is also emphasising that new investment must work for everyone who relies on social care services. VODG Chief Executive, Dr Rhidian Hughes said, 'Money to support the system this winter is welcome. But social care urgently requires a lasting, year round, financial settlement that works for all. The forthcoming Autumn Budget offers Government the opportunity to identify a long-term and sustainable funding solution for adult social care that covers both working age disabled adults and older people. People who rely on essential care services deserve nothing less.'
Glen Garrod, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said, 'This funding is welcome. It recognises that adult social care has a significant role to play in supporting the NHS during the winter – most notably hospitals. As a sector, adult care has made great progress in reducing unnecessary delays, discharging people safely from hospital and it’s positive that this is acknowledged by the Government.
'However, we must also look to what is happening in the community if we are to achieve more. This will help relieve pressure on A&E departments, as we reduce the numbers of people going to hospital because of gaps in community support.
'This funding can only be a temporary and partial 'fix' – we need to go much further, much faster, if we are to truly support people in the community. This can only be achieved with greater co-ordination between health, social care and housing services and through a long-term settlement for adult social care.
'Ensuring social care is sustainably funded is important for all of us – whether it’s our grandparents who need support to live in their communities or specialist care for adults with learning disabilities, it’s crucial as a society we offer personalised care, which takes the individual being supported as it’s starting point. We look forward to seeing more in the upcoming green paper about how a long-term funding settlement will do this.'