The body that represents Britain’s nursing homes – the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) – has welcomed reports that Chancellor George Osborne is planning to protect services for older people from the draconian spending reductions planned for Whitehall departments.
However, the RNHA says it is difficult to reconcile the priority expected to be given by the government to health and adult social care with the ‘real terms’ spending cuts that have already been felt by council social services.
Commented RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell: “Let us just say that we will believe it when we see it. The current spending review decisions have yet to be announced in detail. We will be looking at the figures very closely as soon as they are published.”
He added: “What we do know is that adult social care budgets have lost around £4.6 billion over the past five years and that a further £0.5 billion has been slashed from those budgets in the current year.
“We also know that increases in the number of older and disabled people require at least an additional £1.1 billion to be devoted to adult social care just to enable the same level of service to be provided as last year.
“It remains to be seen exactly how the Chancellor is going to make things right for the future, much as we would like him to do that. Are the predictions simply too good to be true? After all, the Department for Communities and Local Government is reported to be one of those that has already signed up in principle to accept the further substantial funding cuts that the Chancellor is keen to impose on public spending generally.”
The RNHA is one of a wide range of organisations, including the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Care Provider Alliance, that wrote jointly to the Chancellor to call for health and adult social care to be protected from further cuts and for some of those already imposed to be reversed.
“Perhaps our call is about to be answered,” said Mr Ursell. “But we remain cautious because the government’s previous record on this issue does not inspire us with great confidence.”