EXCLUSIVE: Care home leaders welcome government funding

Care leaders have given a qualified welcome to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement yesterday of £2bn in additional funding for the care home sector.

In his Spring Budget yesterday the Chancellor also signalled the government would be releasing a Green Paper on the long-time financing of social care later this year (see BREAKING NEWS: Chancellor provides £2bn additional social care funding).

Tim Hammond, CEO of Four Seasons Health Care, told Care Home Professional, the announcement was  “good news” adding: “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.

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“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.”

Dr Chai Patel, CEO of HC-One, told us that while the development was “very welcome” independent evidence said the funding was 50-100% of what was required to stabilise the system.

Dr Patel said the Green Paper must be “bold and innovative” to create a secure future for services.

Jane Ashcroft, CEO of Anchor, added: “The additional funding in the short term buys some time. But it remains to be seen whether the planned Green Paper can avert disaster.

“We agree that a fundamental review is required, but it needs to happen quickly. It is important that a new system is implemented in this Parliament.

“Detail will be key – with most services provided by the independent sector, it will be critical that the additional funds reach the people who need it and are not lost in the system.”

Adrian Bagg, CEO of the Methodist Homes Association, said effective use of the funding would go some way to alleviating the pressures on older people getting the good care they deserve, while also welcoming the Green Paper announcement.

Andrew Long, managing director of Oakdale, gave a cautious welcome to the statement, arguing: “Some narrative with a £2bn price tag sounds good but this is to be spread over three years and it’s actual drawdown and ability to be properly invested will heavily depend on system reforms coming out of the Green Paper for Adult 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.”

More reaction to follow.

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