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An extra £2 billion for Social Care – what does it mean?
You will have no doubt all seen the fantastic news in yesterday’s budget. I could not have imagined that the huge injection of money into our sector would be one of the lead headlines in news coverage of the budget. In the last few months we have seen a dramatic change in the public perception of the importance of the Adult Social Care sector to the health and wellbeing of this country.
I do hope that this recognition by politicians and the media of the importance of Adult Social Care will continue.
Further news is slowly emerging about the Chancellor’s announcement about the £2 billion pounds grant to be made to Local Authorities to be spent on Adult Social Care over the next three years.
I understand that the money will be ring fenced but I am continuing to look for official confirmation that this is so.
Further information will be published in the coming days and weeks and as it emerges I will keep you updated.
On the Treasury website, a policy paper has been published and I have cut the part relating to Adult Social Care and the NHS in full and reproduced it below as it adds a little more to our understanding of what will happen next…
“6.1 Social Care and the NHS
Social care – During this Parliament the government has already taken a number of steps to help secure a stable system of social care in England. The government has created the improved Better Care Fund to help support health and social care integration, introduced the new social care precept, and provided councils with funding certainty across every year of the Parliament through the Local Government Finance Settlement.
Recognising the challenges of an ageing and growing population, last year the government introduced short-term measures to support councils to manage adult social care. This included allowing councils to raise funding sooner from the social care precept, whilst continuing to protect local tax payers from large bill increases.
At this Budget, the government is building on these with further support in the medium term. The government will provide an additional £2 billion to councils in England over the next 3 years to spend on adult social care services. £1 billion of this will be provided in 2017-18, ensuring councils can take immediate action to fund care packages for more people, support social care providers, and relieve pressure on the NHS locally. Building on the approach to the Better Care Fund, councils will need to work with their NHS colleagues to consider how the funding can be best spent, and to ensure that best practice is implemented more consistently across the country. This funding will be supplemented with targeted measures to help ensure that those areas facing the greatest challenges make rapid improvement, particularly in reducing delayed transfers of care between NHS and social care services. Overall, local government will be able to increase social care-specific resources in real terms in each of the remaining 3 years of the Parliament. (9)
In the longer term, the government is committed to establishing a fair and more sustainable basis for adult social care, in the face of the future demographic challenges set out in the OBR’s Fiscal Sustainability Report.55 The government will set out proposals in a green paper to put the system on a more secure and sustainable long term footing.
Accident & Emergency (A&E) capital investment – Recognising the particular pressures in A&E, the government will provide an additional £100 million to the NHS in England in 2017‑18 for capital investment in A&E departments. This will enable Trusts to invest in measures to help manage demand on A&E services and ensure that patients are able to access the most appropriate care as quickly as possible. For example, the funding will allow for better assessment of patients when they arrive at A&E and increase the provision of on-site GP facilities. (10)
Sustainability and Transformation Plans – The government recognises the progress that local NHS leaders have made, working collaboratively with partners, to develop local Sustainability and Transformation Plans. These local plans are an important part of the NHS’s commitment to deliver more effective services to patients. The government will invest £325 million over the next three years to support the local proposals for capital investment where there is the strongest case to deliver real improvements for patients and to ensure a sustainable financial position for the health service. In the autumn, a further round of local proposals will be considered, subject to the same rigorous value for money tests. Investment decisions will also consider whether the local NHS area is playing its part in raising proceeds from unused land, to reinvest in the health service. (11)”
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