Responding to the Government’s Autumn Statement announcement that pooled health and social care budgets should become a permanent part of the system, Cllr Katie Hall, Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Any funding that helps to ensure closer integration between health and social care is valuable. This is a positive step that will provide greater certainty when planning local health and social care activity. It is also the basis for thinking about bigger shared local budgets that will help us to improve people’s health and wellbeing outcomes whilst ensuring public money is effectively spent.
“The Better Care Fund has the potential to redefine how we allocate resources to maximum effect across the whole health and social care system. But unless social care funding is put on a sustainable footing, social care services will remain substantially underfunded and the good intentions of the fund will suffer as a result.
“Councils have a key role to play in integrating services to improve the quality of care and it is important that we continue to work with the health service to focus on preventative, community-based social care to help people to stay in the community for longer. Health and Wellbeing Boards must be at the heart of local decisions to ensure that the NHS and local government are working together to tackle the wider health needs of our communities.