The Local Government Association has released a statement addressing the funding of health and care, with an emphasis on how funding is dealing with the current pressures that the sector is under.
Chairman of the Local Government Association Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr David Fothergill, said:
“A decade of consistent underfunding of social care and underinvestment in community health services has led us into this crisis and it will not be fixed through tacked-on funding that fails to address any of the root causes off this situation.
“Councils recognise the immediate issue of pressures on hospitals and the desire to expand capacity through use of care home beds. It is important that any beds purchased by the NHS must be clearly earmarked as short term recovery beds and have full wrap around support to support people to get home as quickly as possible. The NHS should also agree the purchase of such beds and how the wrap around support will be provided with local councils so that there is a consistent approach to the local care market. It is vital that there is agreement about funding the ongoing support for people if the NHS funding of a place is time limited.
“The piecemeal allocation of funding is no substitute for a strategic approach to the pressure on hospital beds which requires a much broader range of actions to prevent admission, streamline discharge for those that do not need social care and focus on capacity to support recovery.
“It is disappointing that so much of the current narrative on social care implies it exists solely to ease pressure on the NHS and is failing to do its job. Many people rely on social care to support them to live independent and fulfilling lives and the continual focus on supporting the NHS, important though it is, places these vital services at risk. Until the Government presents social are as an essential service in its own right – valued equally highly as the NHS – we will continue to lurch from one sticking plaster to the next.
“We have consistently said that £13 billion is needed for social care so that its many pressures can be addressed and councils can deliver on all of their statutory duties. This is the level of investment needed to ensure people of all ages can live an equal life and reduce the need for hospital treatment in the first place.”
This statement came on Monday, only a day before the Scottish Government announced increased funding for the NHS to get through the winter period. New beds and staff are expected to help ease the extreme pressures that the service is under.