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Government under fire for lack of care funding after £20bn NHS pledge

Council chiefs have heavily criticised Theresa May for not including social care funding in her promise to increase cash resources by £20bn annually for the NHS to mark the service’s 70th birthday.

Plans of the prime minister’s upcoming plans of extra funding— due to be announced today— would originally have boosted the NHS’s annual budget by as much as £6bn, with cash due to be sourced with higher taxation and further borrowing by the treasury.

Now, however, the PM has promised a massive £20bn for the NHS as a birthday ‘present’ for turning 70 this week. Yet the PM’s move has echoed Jeremy Hunt’s point last week that social care will be left out of the extra funding, leaving social care demand still sky-high.

Theresa May also said that some of the extra funding will come from money saved after exiting the EU via a ‘Brexit dividend’ – something the IFS claims does not exist as its director Tweeted: “There is no Brexit dividend.”

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester last week, NHS Confed chair Stephen Dorrell claimed healthcare funding was “just hot air” unless primary healthcare and social care were funded and worked in unison.

“If we are to deliver universal healthcare which meets the needs of our changing population, the authors conclude that there needs to be a commitment to increase taxpayer resources available to both health and social care services at the rate of 4% per annum,” he told delegates at the event.

Council leaders have came out to condemn the government’s negligence of additional funding for the social care sector. County Councils Network spokesman for health and social care David Williams says the government needs to show the same kind of financial commitment to adult social care as they do for long-term investment in the services.

Williams said: “Health and social care should not be viewed in isolation from each other. Extra funding and system reform will complement each other, reducing unplanned and planned hospital admissions and lowering the social care cost burden for local authorities as well as improving residents’ lives. 

“We must begin to focus on stopping people from going into hospital in the first place; elderly residents deserve to live independent and dignified lives for as long as possible,” he added.

Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: “This 70th birthday bonus is great for the NHS to allow it to continue its fantastic work, but hugely disappointing that government has not taken this timely opportunity to announce a similar funding boost for social care and prevention services.

Cllr Seccombe added that further rises in demand for social care will see the A&E crisis “spiral to an unresolvable, year-round problem.” She noted that without long-term funding local councils will be unable to support those turning 70 this year and need support to enjoy the best quality of life.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) described the lack of resources for social as “deeply disappointing.”


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