The Local Government Association says councils with responsibility for social care are facing a funding gap of £2.6bn by 2020 and the entire system stands on the “brink of collapse” without an immediate cash injection and a commitment to a long-term solution.
On social care he acknowledged the hard work done by 1000’s of care workers he has confirmed an increase of £2bn over three years to support social care providers.
Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement that the Government will introduce a Green Paper on the long term funding of social care, but has warned that this must be followed by action.
Professor Martin Green OBE Chief Executive for Care England says:
“The Chancellor’s Spring Budget has quite rightly acknowledged the precarious state of adult social care. Whilst the £2 billion additional funding over three years for adult social care is welcome, it will only be an efficient use of tax payers money should the Green Paper on Adult Social Care deliver the reforms that are necessary to put the system on a stable footing”.
Dr Rhidian Hughes chief executive of VODG (the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group) said:
“Government has woken up to the care crisis facing the country and £2billion over three years for social care is to be welcomed. But let us be under no illusion that huge issues continue to face people who rely on social care services. Unmet need is rising as fewer and fewer people are eligible for services, while some commissioners are also failing to meet statutory duties under the Care Act.”
Dr Hughes goes on to say:
“There is a big question mark over whether the sector needs yet another review on social care funding. But through the process of the Green Paper announced today, we need Government to work genuinely with people who rely on essential services, providers and commissioners to actively plan and crucially to deliver a sustainable social care sector.”
Mike Padgham of the Independent Care Group welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of £2bn over the next three years towards social care but warned that efforts had to be made to ensure it reaches the front line of care delivery.
“If it is indeed extra new funding then this £2bn – £1bn of which is for this coming year – is a welcome move,” he said. “The important thing is to ensure that it gets to people who are not getting the care they need and to care workers and providers on the front line and doesn’t get lost in NHS and local authority bureaucracy.
“It is a start – it won’t meet the gap forecast in social care funding and it isn’t the root and branch reform that will see social care and NHS care merged into one department, which is what a lot of commentators want to see – but it is a step in the right direction.
“Whilst the green paper shows the Government is taking the future funding of social care seriously, I have said many times before that we don’t need any further documents, discussions and investigations. We know that better funding and the merger of the NHS and social care is what is needed now and not some time off in the future,” he added.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:
“Although we warmly support the Chancellor’s announcement of a Social Care Green Paper in the autumn, this is tempered by some anxiety that today’s emergency funding package, welcome though it is, may not be enough to keep the system going until a new, sustainable approach is put in place.
“In recent months different experts have come up with a range of numbers for how much is needed to keep Social Care functioning over the next 3 years but they were all higher than the amount announced today. We also need to know more about where the additional £2 billion is coming from and whether it is genuinely ‘new money’ or not.
“Our concern is that there could be big trouble ahead in some places for older people needing care and their families if providers continue to shut up shop and councils find it impossible to spread the jam any thinner to meet rising demand. A crucial question is whether what has been announced today will be enough to make care providers who were considering exiting the market think again, in the hope that a more sustainable approach is on the way. If it isn’t then the Government’s rescue package might well need to be followed by a further bail out for social care later this year or next and so for now we are viewing this £2 billion injection of funds as more of a down-payment than a final interim settlement.
“There’s a pressing need to give social care real stability, and providers, commissioners and users more confidence. We will have to wait and see if the extra funding announced today does enough in these respects and the Government must be prepared to act fast if it does not but, more positively, a Green Paper is absolutely the right approach and Age UK looks forward to supporting its development.”
In response to the announcement in today’s budget that social care will receive an additional £2bn over the next three years, Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“The commitment to tackle social care funding is welcome. But eligibility for funding must be addressed by the Green Paper so people with dementia aren’t impoverished by their condition.”
Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust health think-tank, said:
“The £2 billion announced for social care over the next three years is welcome and desperately needed – but the £1 billion share of that cash promised for next year will plug only half of the funding gap we’ve identified for that year. £1 billion is also only the sum that’s already been cut from local councils’ adult social care budgets over the last five years. More and more vulnerable people are therefore going to be denied the help they need in the next year.
“It’s good news that the Government has recognised the need for a complete reform of the whole system of paying for care in later life, but there have already been four independent reviews of this subject in the last two decades (see note 1), none of which have led to significant change – so this one will need to lead to concrete action to make any difference”.
On the Chancellor’s announcement of extra capital funding for the NHS, Mr Edwards commented:
“It’s a sensible idea to make extra capital funding available immediately to help the new local health partnerships put their plans for new facilities into practice. But given that £1.2 billion has already been taken from the NHS’s capital budget this year by the Department of Health simply to plug the gap in Trusts’ running costs, there is no point topping up capital reserves if they’re going to be raided in this way in the future.
“Putting family doctors into A&E departments to help treat less sick patients is a good idea, and the capital funding the Chancellor has announced today will help hospitals which don’t currently have enough space to do it – but the big question is whether we actually have enough GPs to make this policy a reality”.
Responding to the 2017 Budget, Emily Holzhausen OBE, Policy Director at Carers UK said:
“It is a welcome sign that the Chancellor has recognised the current critical pressure that social care is under, by allocating another £1 billion to social care in the next financial year and a further £1 billion over the following 2 years. Social care services are vital to families who have been under increasing pressure to care for their disabled and older relatives. This has significant costs and consequences for carers, their families and the economy. Carers UK’s research shows around 2 million people have given up work to care for relatives. For one in three carers providing substantial care, their decision to give up work was due to a lack of affordable quality social care.
Without this new funding, we feared that many more carers would have found themselves giving up work to care, many would have seen their health worsen, their relationships break down as they have less time for others, and families would end up in lasting poverty.
This welcome funding announcement is by no means the end to the continuing problem of inadequate social care funding. We are pleased that the Government will be bringing out a Green Paper on the future of social care looking at medium and longer term funding for social care services. The Government must develop, secure and implement a robust and sustainable funding solution for care which provides a fairer deal for families. With an ageing population, this must be done in a timely way, or social care will continue to remain in crisis.”
However, there was nothing in the Budget to ease financial pressures on carers and no reversal of planned cuts to Employment and Support Allowance, which mean those in the work-related activity group stand to lose £30 a week.
We were also hoping to see several other measures in the 2017 Budget that would support carers to improve their health and well-being, increase their opportunities to learn and to recognise their skills, and enhance their ability to juggle work and continue caring. The forthcoming cross-Government Carers Strategy due to be published in Spring is an opportunity the Government must take to improve the lives of carers.”
Dr Alison Rose-Quirie, CEO, Swanton Care and Community commented;
“Finally, the Chancellor has begun to recognise the acute financial crisis that faces the social care sector.
“However, an extra £2bn over the next three years is horribly insufficient when £4.6bn has been taken out of social care budgets in the last six years.
“The Government is promising a Green Paper later this year to address the long term strategic challenges that face the sector. They must seize this opportunity to bring forward real radical reform across social care otherwise piecemeal funding will be nothing more than a sticking plaster and the most vulnerable members of our society will continue to lose out.”
Tim Hammond, Chief Executive of Four Seasons Health Care, said: “It’s good news that the Chancellor has committed additional funding to ease pressures on a social care system that is at tipping point, with £1bn to be available in 2017-18, allowing local authorities to act now to commission care packages. We look forward to this being factored into discussions with commissioners.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s acknowledgement that tackling the under-funding of social care will also help ease pressures on the NHS and look forward to the new measures to ensure more joined up working between the NHS and social care. The additional £100m for triage in English hospitals in time for next winter hopefully will help to avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital when appropriate care could be provided in an alternative setting. Four Seasons is part of the NHS England Vanguard project for new models of intermediate care development to enable discharge from hospital of patients whose medical condition has been stabilised or to reduce the need for admissions.
“It is important that any additional funding gets through to front line care as intended and so it remains essential also that councils should use the powers they have been given by Government to raise the council tax precept to its maximum amount in order to provide funding for care. This was a main conclusion of the Communities and Local Government Committee’s pre-budget report of their inquiry into social care.”
Kevin Beirne, Group Director of Housing Care and Support at One Housing, said:
“Extra funding is welcome but a long-term approach that includes health and housing is needed to make high-quality social care viable. Building specialist but attractive housing that offers care when needed reduces costs while helping older people live happier, healthier and more independent lives. The Government’s upcoming Green Paper must help to remove the barriers to a greater uptake of this housing, while helping developers to build.
Peter Hodkinson, Managing Director of Westward Care and Chairman of Leeds Care Association welcomed the fact that the government are looking for a sustainable solution for the future of social care saying;
“While the extra funding will undoubtedly support the immediate need for services and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in society in Yorkshire, I fear the funding is just a plaster to cover up the growing problem of increasing demand.
“What I applaud more than the funding announcement, is the fact that social care is finally being discussed at the highest level and a constructive debate has begun to determine a sustainable social care solution for the UK’s ageing population.
“Having worked in the sector for over 20 years I passionately believe we must not always focus on the negative we must not forget the thousands of dedicated care professionals that do their upmost to support those in need 365 days of the year. Across the region, we see great examples of dedicated social care workers providing their clients and patients with unparalleled levels of support.
“I believe if the social care profession, both in the public, voluntary and private sector work together we can deliver a quality solution for the long term. Of course, it won’t be easy but with innovative future thinking, and crucially a joined up NHS co-ordinated approach we can deliver a world-renowned model of social care provision.
Caroline Hope, lead social care partner at Deloitte, commented:
“Action at the frontline where an elderly patient comes into A&E is clearly a sensible way forward. A green paper later this year could go some way to facing up to the pressures that exponential growth of the over 75s is putting on health services.
“One of the biggest pinch points is at A&E, so the money for GP triage is good news. However it will be very important to track the results and share best practice so everyone is better prepared for an even tougher future.
“Beyond stumping up the cash, we also need to think differently about the people we are trying to serve. Understanding people’s lives outside the hospital may provide breakthrough insight into how care can be designed differently.”