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Guarded Welcome For Winter Care Cash Boost

Care providers have given a guarded welcome to the announcement of an extra £40m to help provide care this winter.

They say the money is welcome but warn that it is another temporary ‘sticking plaster’ when wholesale reform is needed.

The Government today (Monday) announced £40m to speed up hospital discharges, boost social care provision and prevent avoidable hospital admissions.

The social care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG), gave a guarded welcome to the news.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:

“Any extra money coming to local authorities to ease pressures this winter has to be welcomed and I am pleased that the Government has heeded warnings about the challenges care providers are facing.

“The money will, in the main, help provide more homecare and will ease some pressures.

“However, this is another piece of knee-jerk, piecemeal funding that does little to tackle the underlying problems within social care.

“We need proper reform that will provide better funding for the sector, pay staff properly and ensure adequate social care provision all the time, not just an emergency sticking plaster when hospitals are bursting at the seams.

“And it is important to say that, once divided across quite a long list of local authorities in need, that extra money doesn’t go very far. We must also ensure that it is spent on the delivery of care at the sharp end and not lost in bureaucracy as has happened before.”

Deighton, Director of the NHS Confederation’s Acute Network said:

“Health leaders will welcome access to any funding that can help to bolster services in the community as we approach winter. With hospital bed occupancy and other pressures already very high they hope that the release of this funding for local authorities will support preparations that the NHS has been putting in place already to keep people well.

“While the NHS is committed to working hand in glove with local authorities to support people over winter, our members are eager to see a shift from these emergency pots of rescue money being needed and a towards more multi-year funding allocations that will help public services plan more effectively.

“This year, this worry is compounded by the cost of industrial action which is estimated to be at over £1.4 billion. Whilst the department announced £800 million to cover some of this cost last month, the majority of this needs to be found from existing budgets and indications are it will need to be clawed back from central digital and capital funds.

“This will stymie the ability of NHS leaders to reach the stretching productivity targets set out in the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan and in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement for all public services.”

 

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