LGA warns of NHS ‘crisis’ if social care faces further cuts

13 Feb 15
The NHS will face more winter crises if social care funding is not protected in the next Budget, the Local Government Association has warned.

LGA chair David Sparks has called on Chancellor George Osborne to use next month’s Budget to protect the social care funding so councils can support the NHS and prepare for reforms starting in April. These include the launch of the Better Care Fund and the introduction of provisions under the Care Act.

If social care was not ring-fenced in a similar way to the NHS, which has had its budget protected since 2010, the current crisis caused by funding pressures would get worse, he said. It had already contributed to record levels of demand in the NHS, he stated.

‘This Budget must make sure adult social care is put on a sustainable financial footing. We can’t afford to waste this chance to get to right.

‘We have seen first-hand the devastating effects that a chronically underfunded social care system can have on people’s lives this winter by leaving them stuck in hospital without the care they need.’

Councils spent £14.6bn on adult social care in 2013/14. This accounts for an increasing proportion of local government spending, and now stands at over one-third of the total (35%).

The combined pressures of insufficient funding as a result of funding cuts, growing demand and escalating costs meant it was not enough for government to ‘keep papering over the cracks’ within the system, Sparks added.

‘We urgently need a longer-term solution that puts social care on a sustainable footing,’ Failure to do so will deprive our elderly of the care they deserve, create additional pressure on the NHS and push other local services over the edge.’

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