The influential National Audit Office (NAO) has today published its report into the sustainability of the NHS. With winter upon us, Care England, a representative body for independent providers of adult social care, urges the Government and the NHS to take heed of the recommendations from the NAO, and thoroughly assess the impact of social care funding on NHS pressures.
Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England says:
“The report raises a number of crucial issues and it is clear that the NHS and social care are not in the state that we would like them to be. The independent sector has an important role to play and we hope that CCGs will involve their independent sector providers in the forthcoming discussions and plans. It is worrying to note that the accounting officer for NHS England acknowledged that the effect of social care pressures is not costed into the NHS funding enveloped for the next five years.”
Quite rightly, the NAO recommends that the Department of Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement should analyse the impact to the NHS of pressures on social care funding, and the cost of implementing seven-day services. Care England is concerned, but not surprised to learn, that not all of these factors and pressures have been taken into account by the NHS in forming national plans for financial sustainability. This will have knock-on effects for care users.
The report also raises concerns that funding cuts and wage pressures will make it harder for local authorities to fulfil their Care Act obligations at a time when demand for social care is rising, typically resulting in additional delayed discharges and extra pressure on hospitals.
Martin Green continues:
“We look forward to the Government’s response to the NAO’s report and indeed the conclusions of the Lords Select Committee on the Long Term Sustainability of the NHS. I hope that the Chancellor uses his Autumn Statement as an opportunity to give – at the bare minimum – £1 billion in new funding to stabilise the sector and give breathing space for the development of a long term funding solution.”