Extra £240m for social care is 'woefully inadequate', charity tells Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock

An extra £240m in social care funding to ease the pressure on busy hospitals this winter is "woefully inadequate", an elderly people's charity has said.

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 1:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 1:08 pm
The funding will free up beds this winter.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce the move, designed free up beds and prevent elderly people being stuck in hospital, at the Conservative Party conference today.

The extra £240m will be allocated to councils to spend on measures including housing adaptations and care in people's homes.

The money could buy 71,500 domestic care packages or 86,500 reablement packages, which help elderly people regain their independence after hospital treatment.

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Mr Hancock will tell the conference in Birmingham: "I can announce that today I am making an extra £240m available to pay for social care packages this winter to support our NHS.

"We will use this money to get people who don't need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home, back into their communities, so we can free up those vital hospital beds. And help people who really need it get the hospital care they need."

But the charity Independent Age said it would fall well short of the extra funding needed.

George McNamara, the charity's Director of Policy, said: "The social care budget has been cut by the equivalent of over £2m a day since 2010, so this announcement simply rolls back cuts over the past four months.

"This announcement is a headline-grabbing gesture, but in reality it is woefully inadequate to address the long-term funding crisis in social care. Introducing free personal care for all older people in England is not only the best way to tackle this finding crisis, but it would also mean that many older people would get the care packages they need earlier, avoiding the need to go into hospital.

“The government needs to face up to its responsibility to millions of older people and their families and put in place provision for free personal care, supported by sustainable funding, that will allow local authorities and providers to put in place a skilled workforce and high-quality services that meet demand for care services now and in the future.”