FOUR LEADING AGENCIES representing providers and commissioners across the health and social care sector have called for `urgent’ talks with Treasury and other Whitehall Departments in the face of a mounting crisis in the care of older and disabled people.
In a letter* to George Osborne (Chancellor), Jeremy Hunt (Department of Health) and Greg Clark (Communities and Local Government) ADASS, NHS Confederation, CPA and CSA state bluntly that the recent Spending Review settlement “is not sufficient to resolve the care funding crisis.
“Ultimately the package put forward for social care will not enable us to fill the current gap in funding, cover additional costs associated with the introduction of the National Living Wage, nor fully meet future growth in demand due to our ageing population.”
Equally dangerously, they warn that some of the resources are back-loaded – with Better Care Funding not reaching levels of any significance until towards the end of this Parliament. “This has significant implications in terms of the vital support needed by older and disabled people and their carers. And It also puts the delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View – and implementation of the Care Act – at risk.”
The immediate points which, according to the letter, must be addressed, are:
What happened to the £6bn originally which was earmarked for the full implementation of the Care Act?
What steps can be taken to ensure that the proposed 2% levy per year on council tax in the form of a social care precept delivers the money required to ensure the right levels of social care and does so equitably?
What steps can be taken, given the wider spending review settlement for local government, to support councils to address the shortfall?
And it concludes: “If we do not collectively address the highlighted issues relating to levels of and phasing of funding there is the potential for significant and adverse impacts, including:
An increasing number of older people, disabled people and their carers without any, or without sufficient support to meet their needs;
An acceleration of the failure of domiciliary, residential and nursing home providers. This is likely to accelerate fastest in those areas of the country where providers are predominantly reliant on state funded clients. These are exactly the areas of the country that additionally will raise the least areas of council tax. The impact of this will be the compounding of the number of people who do not have their needs met, or who are avoidably admitted or remain in hospital; and
An increasing pressure on the NHS with more people admitted to hospital and more delays to get people home safely.
“As you made clear in your speech to parliament ‘a civilised and prosperous society like ours should support its most vulnerable and elderly citizens.’ This is a goal that we all share and we are keen to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that this becomes a reality.”