Quentin Cole, healthcare partner at PwC, said:
“George Osborne is right to recognise that a hard-pressed NHS is in need of financial relief. By front-loading the extra resources the Government had promised for the NHS, it will bring much needed stability to a system under enormous pressure. The Chancellor’s welcome cash injection should provide a platform on which reform can take place to make the health and care system sustainable for the longer-term.
“But no-one should kid themselves. The extra resources, though very welcome, only provide a breathing space. The quid pro quo for this investment is that the NHS now needs to put its foot to the floor in speeding up reforms to how care is delivered and organised.
“The Chancellor’s decision to give local councils more freedom to fund services for the elderly will also help. Although a long-term solution is still needed for funding care in old age this welcome step should allow health and social care to work with each other rather than against one another.”
Nick Sanderson, CEO, Audley Retirement Villages, commented:
“The Chancellor’s announcement of an 11th hour injection of £4bn to aid our creaking healthcare service does little to address the route of the issue, namely that we have an ageing population which places growing demands on the system. Preventative measures, rather than throwing money at our care home system, would be far more effective. 99% of people don’t want to go into a care home, and most of those should not have to. George Osborne would be foolish to direct this level of spending in the direction of a model that is broken.
“The Chancellor should listen to the facts – 86% of the older generation are still living in a family sized home which is often unsuitable for their changing needs. It’s clear that what is actually needed are more housing options that offer high quality, flexible care which can be implemented as and when required. This would ensure that people were prepared for changes to their health, which in turn would go a long way to minimise costly intervention and hospital bed blocking. Most importantly, it would allow the majority of people to remain independent and in their own homes. This would not only improve the living standards of older generations but also revolutionise the future of UK care and allow the government to allocate spending elsewhere.”