Social care costs not factored into NHS funding, NAO reveals

NHS hospital

Social care costs have not been factored into NHS funding for the next five years, the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed.

The NAO’s report on NHS Sustainability was published ahead of today’s Autumn Statement by the Chancellor.

The report states: “We did not see in our review of the shared plan to achieve sustainability any estimate of the impact on pressures on social care spending on the NHS budget.

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“The accounting officer for NHS England acknowledged that the effect of social care pressures ‘is not costed into the NHS funding envelope for the next five years’.”

Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, urged the government to take note of the NAO report recommendations and thoroughly assess the impact of social care funding on NHS pressures.

He said: “The report raises a number of crucial issues and it is clear that the NHS and social care are not in the state that we would like them to be.  The independent sector has an important role to play and we hope that CCGs will involve their independent sector providers in the forthcoming discussions and plans.  It is worrying to note that the accounting officer for NHS England acknowledged that the effect of social care pressures is not costed into the NHS funding enveloped for the next five years.”

Care England also noted that the report also raises concerns that funding cuts and wage pressures will make it harder for local authorities to fulfil their Care Act obligations at a time when demand for social care is rising, typically resulting in additional delayed discharges and extra pressure on hospitals.

Professor Green added: “We look forward to the government’s response to the NAO’s report and indeed the conclusions of the Lords Select Committee on the Long Term Sustainability of the NHS.  I hope that the Chancellor uses his Autumn Statement as an opportunity to give – at the bare minimum – £1 billion in new funding to stabilise the sector and give breathing space for the development of a long term funding solution.”

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The author Lee Peart

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