One-Off Investment In Social Care Not Enough, Ministers Warned

ONE of the UK’s largest providers of housing and care services has warned that the extreme pressure being placed on hospitals will increase without long-term investment in social care.

The warning follows the announcement of a £25m emergency fund for 65 councils in areas where hospitals are facing the biggest problems of delayed patient discharges. The money, which will be used to provide extra social care services for older people, must be spent by the end of March.

Home Group, which provides social care services to 30,000 people across the UK, welcomed the injection of funds, but called on ministers to commit to funding adequate levels of social care in the future.

Rachael Byrne, executive director of care and support for Home Group, said: “People are living longer with increasing complex medical conditions, and the need for this emergency fund is proof that our current healthcare system cannot cope with the demands of an increasingly ageing population. While the provision of an emergency fund is a welcome gesture from ministers, we must recognise that it requires an integrated response from housing and care to maximise the impact. Longer term a one-off investment simply isn’t enough.

“It is vital that significant, long-term investment is made in social care services so that people of all ages have the support they need, helping them to return home from hospital as soon as they are well, or even preventing them from needing medical care in the first place. Without this support people will have no choice but to turn to their GP’s surgery or hospital for help, placing more strain on the already over-stretched NHS.”