Council cuts and an increase in demand for elderly care services will leave the adult social care sector with a £1.9 billion funding gap as of next year.
This is according to three leading health charities – the Nuffield Trust, The King’s Fund and the Health Foundation – which have now called on the government to address this funding gap in its next Autumn Statement.
The organisations are now pushing for increases in social care funding, which were to have been brought in later this parliament via the Better Care Fund, to be introduced in 2017. They say that if this doesn’t happen, thousands more disabled and older people will not have access to the care they require, which in turn will have serious consequences for the NHS.
“After years of austerity, by the middle of this parliament we will start to see the amount of NHS money per person actually fall in real terms. In this context, providing high quality healthcare that meets the needs of a growing and ageing population will put the NHS under enormous pressure,” director of research and chief economist at the Nuffield Trust John Appleby said.
The call has been backed by councillor Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, who said that unless social care is funded appropriately, both the safety and quality of care is at risk.
She too went on to urge the government to use its forthcoming Autumn Statement to provide local authorities with the funding they need to make sure the care system is fair and keeps people out of hospital, able to live independent and dignified lives.
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