Reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget has been mostly favourable but with concerns still being expressed by those providing care.
Care England has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement that the Government will introduce a Green Paper on the long term funding of social care, but has warned that this must be followed by action.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive, said: “The Chancellor’s Spring Budget has quite rightly acknowledged the precarious state of adult social care. Whilst the £2 billion additional funding over three years for adult social care is welcome it will only be an efficient use of tax payers money should the Green Paper on Adult Social Care deliver the reforms that are necessary to put the system on a stable footing”.
A leading regional social care provider said the measures announced offered a positive start in efforts to end the crisis affecting the care of older and vulnerable adults.
Mike Padgham welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of £2bn over the next three years towards social care but warned that efforts had to be made to ensure it reaches the front line of care delivery.
“If it is indeed extra new funding then this £2 billion – £1billion n of which is for this coming year – is a welcome move,” he said. “The important thing is to ensure that it gets to people who are not getting the care they need and to care workers and providers on the front line and doesn’t get lost in NHS and local authority bureaucracy.
“It is a start – it won’t meet the gap forecast in social care funding and it isn’t the root and branch reform that will see social care and NHS care merged into one department, which is what a lot of commentators want to see – but it is a step in the right direction.
“Whilst the Green Paper shows the government is taking the future funding of social care seriously, I have said many times before that we don’t need any further documents, discussions and investigations. We know that better funding and the merger of the NHS and social care is what is needed now and not some time off in the future.”
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said: “This is good news – on social care the Government has finally woken up to what many of us have been saying for some time – that hospitals and community services are desperately struggling, and that huge numbers of vulnerable older people are receiving inadequate or non-existent care.
“The extra funding will definitely help, but we await the details. We also welcome the announcement of a Green Paper on the long-term funding of social care – let us hope this time it results in action and not more words.”
“The NHS and local government need to find new ways of working and of working together, which embrace prevention and help to keep people healthy for longer, thereby reducing pressure on overstretched services. The current system is not fit for purpose and it is time we all admitted it.”
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The commitment to tackle social care funding is welcome. But eligibility for funding must be addressed by the Green Paper so people with dementia aren’t impoverished by their condition.”
Dr Rhidian Hughes chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group said: “Government has woken up to the care crisis facing the country and £2billion over three years for social care is to be welcomed. But let us be under no illusion that huge issues continue to face people who rely on social care services. Unmet need is rising as fewer and fewer people are eligible for services, while some commissioners are also failing to meet statutory duties under the Care Act.”
Steve Smith, chief executive of Wellbeing, a leading provider of independent living services for the elderly and vulnerable, said: “Adult social care in the UK is in crisis. While the funding and other measures announced by the Chancellor today are welcome, we need much more, most critically, the urgent need for a long-term integrated and fully funded strategy for older people.
“This should examine the huge technological advancements being made that allow elderly and vulnerable people to live longer and securely at home independently, rather than at huge expense in homes provided by public or private care providers, or indeed whist remaining in hospital despite not requiring clinical support.”
Roy Edwards, global marketing director for care home supplier NHG, said: “I was encouraged to see social care funding being given an airing in the spring budget today. While the money ring-fenced realistically only represents about one third of what’s needed, at least, it should definitely go some way to managing real issues that we currently face.
“This is not a cash-injection, we must remember. It’s a ‘loan’ from a pot set aside for better care in the future and it must not be squandered on red tape or get lost in administration.”
That point was re-iterated by Tony Hunter, chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence. He said: “The additional £2 billion funding for social care is welcome. The challenge now is how to use this investment to deliver sustainable transformation. Evidence that SCIE is gathering indicates that by using all the resources and assets available – including the NHS, local authorities, voluntary, community and family support – and integrating them around the person, we can make a real difference. This is by no means easy and requires all of us to think differently about our roles and responsibilities to ensure high quality care and support.”