The Local Government association has responded to a report which highlights that staffing gaps and a lack of capacity in social care are putting the care and safety of patients in the NHS at risk.
Last week almost 250 NHS leaders responding to an NHS Confederation survey say that patients are being delayed in hospital much longer than they should, with the knock-on impact resulting in higher demand on A&E departments and longer ambulance response times.
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
“Councils, care providers and hospitals all work incredibly hard together to get people being discharged from hospital home with the correct support as soon as they can. However, this process is increasingly difficult with rising demand for social care and community health care, workforce shortages and budgets under significant pressure. The social care system is suffering from long-term underfunding, and the situation continues to worsen with increasing unmet and under-met need.
“We fully endorse the report’s view that social care is not simply a means of alleviating pressure on the NHS and is instead “critical to the wellbeing of the nation”. The report is right to point out that high vacancy levels across the workforce inevitably impact on social care’s ability to help mitigate the demand facing the NHS – whether that’s supporting people out of hospital or preventing their admission in the first place.
“We have been calling for higher pay for social care staff for many years, to guarantee workers get properly compensated for the critical work that they do and to retain and encourage more talent into the workforce. Social care certainly does need a “rescue package” to deliver an increase in pay for staff, a long-term workforce plan, increased overall investment in adult social care.
“Investing in social care now will create long-term saving throughout the NHS as well as the overall public purse, giving patients and people who draw on care better services, treatments and improve the wellbeing of our communities.”