EXCLUSIVE: Care leaders call for more money in Autumn Statement

Care leaders have called for the government’s Autumn Statement to address years of underfunding which has brought the sector to tipping point.

Leaders told Care Home Professional that the government must relieve pressure on the sector by providing more support in its spending announcement on 23 November.

An Avery Healthcare spokesperson said: “In short the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement needs to provide more money for the adult social care sector, from proper funding of step down and intermediate care to viable levels for local authority and CCG funded clients.

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“At the same time a reduction in bureaucracy and commissioning demands to improve efficiency and reduce costs would also assist progress. The evidence to address this is now compelling and established, and we will be disappointed if there is a lack of material contribution and real improvement in this area.”

Tony Stein, chief executive of Healthcare Management Solutions, said: “I’d like to see the Better Care Fund stopped – the fund isn’t working by anyone’s measure – and I’d like to see the money diverted to support a capped form of CHC (Continuing Healthcare) funding.

“If only one third of the £5.3bn (£1.76bn) was re-directed in this way, the effect of this would be to release sufficient money to fund over 45,000 of those who need ongoing nursing care (assuming a cost of £750 per week), or 10% of the current care home population, reducing the pressure on Local Authority budgets and improving occupancy for operators that are currently at risk of closing due to poor performance.

“The net cost would be less as those qualifying for CHC funding would no longer receive the £156.25 of funded nursing care, saving around £0.36bn and reducing the overall amount to around £1.4bn per annum.”

ADASS said the care sector faced a £1.4bn shortfall in 2016-17, in its submission on the Autumn Statement.

ADASS also highlighted £5.5bn in social care cuts over the last six years.

“We are at the tipping point where social care is in real jeopardy and this impacts on the millions of people needing care and support,” ADASS said.

The submission says the social care precept raised less than two-thirds of the estimated costs of the National Living Wage this year, leaving a social care shortfall of £941m.

ADASS called on the government to immediately address the shortfalls in budgets for this year and next in order to stabilise the care market.

It further urged the government to make provision for the funding gap to 2020, ensuring that social funding is “protected, transparent and sustainable”.

Government should provide social care staff the same recognition as doctors and other key healthcare professionals in order to retention and recruitment issues.

This includes addressing pay issues, training, funded apprenticeships and the skill mix, as well as engaging on a national recruitment campaign and provide clarity on the future of non UK EU workers.

 

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