The government has renewed the Better Care Fund with £6.4bn available in 2019/20.
Social care related delays to patients being sent home from hospital have been nearly halved since February 2017, thanks to the investment in integrating health and social care, the equivalent to freeing up almost 1,200 NHS beds, the government said.
Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage (pictured): “No one should be stuck in hospital when their treatment has ended – it’s not fair to patients or their families and places huge pressure on our hardworking NHS staff. The Better Care Fund is an important part of ending these unnecessary waits in hospital, joining up councils and the health service for the benefit of patients.
“Thanks for this government’s multi-billion pound investment, the fund has significantly reduced delays to discharging patients. We must continue to work together to improve services and give people the best possible experiences of care, a crucial part of the NHS Long Term Plan.”
The government said the Fund has been effective in helping to keep people living independently at home, providing joined-up reablement services and reducing delayed discharges across the system, while achieving closer working between the NHS and social care services and building on the NHS Long Term Plan’s aims to create a more integrated and collaborative health and care system.
Local areas have voluntarily pooled together over £2bn of their budgets on top of the required contributions in each of the last two years.
NHS CCGs will make a minimum contribution of £3.84bn to the Fund in 2019/20 with average delayed transfers of care targeted at 4,000.
The government said it was investigating how the Fund would work in the future to ensure the health and care system is fit for the future beyond 2020.