Ahead of George Osborne’s 2016 Budget on Wednesday 16 March, a group of 12 leading doctors have written to urge him to increase funding for social care.
They argue that health care and social care can no longer be looked at as separate entities and specific targeted funding for social care should be increased. The letter points to the drastically underfunded social care system and the strain that this has on the NHS. One of the consequences of this funding crisis is the prolonged amount of time that some patients are occupying beds at the expense of patients in need of new operations and treatment (bed-blocking).
In the letter the doctors has stated that the current plans for social care funding in the comprehensive spending review are insufficient and need rethinking. They suggest bringing forward the Better Care Funding of £700m that was due to come in from next year and cover the next three years.
Simon Stevens, NHS CEO has stated in the past that the Five Year Forward View’s success relies on a properly funded social care sector.
Quite what to expect in the chancellors forthcoming budget is not yet known; however the Government has already committed to giving local authorities an additional £3.5bn to spend on social care from a special council tax rise. The doctors that penned the letter clearly do not see this as enough to plug the social care funding gap.