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London Boroughs share concern over social care challenges

Boroughs in London have sent a warning of increasing pressures on resources related to adult social care, with concerns about the impact that this could have on the health and care system in London during this winter.

The cross-party London Councils group has made a call for emergency funding to be allocated immediately to boost the provision for adult social care, making the argument that it is essential to maintaining the performance of the NHS through the winter.

London Councils’ Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Care, Councillor Nesil Caliskan, said:

“This is set to be a very challenging winter for health and car services across the capital.

“We’re deeply concerned about the impact of worsening financial pressures on London’s adult social care sector. Adult social care plays a vital role in supporting older and disabled Londoners, but also in ensuring the smooth-running of London’s NHS. This was particularly pronounced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and boroughs remain committed to working in partnership with the NHS to serve London’s communities as best we can.

“We were pleased to see the government announce the £500m adult social care discharge fund, but we need urgent clarity on what extra resources are coming to councils to bolster services this winter.

“Looking to next year and beyond, the current timetable for reforming adult social care funding looks increasingly unrealistic and risks destabilising services already under immense  pressure. We hope ministers will listen to councils’ concerns and work with us to find a better way forward, including the long-term funding solution the sector desperately needs.”

Despite saying that they welcome the £500 million adult social care discharge funding for local authorities across the country, they are concerned about the ‘considerable’ lack of certainty about how much of the funding will be directly allocated to councils.

Local authorities provide adult social care support for around 150,000 Londoners, with the Boroughs spending over £2.8 billion on it annually. This accounts for almost a third of their controllable expenditure.

London Councils has also stated that it is seeking a delay to reforms of adult social care funding, saying that the adult social care sector needs more time to prepare for changes. This comes with the government intending to introduce a new framework from October 2023, including changes intended to cap personal costs and increase the eligibility for support. They are also pushing for a guarantee from the government that no local authority is going to be left financially worse off, as a result of the reforms.

The group has pointed to the lack of transparency and engagement with the sector, as well as insufficient overall funding as the main reasons for their concerns.

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