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Red Cross welcomes Spring Budget social care funding and long-term plan

8 March 2017

The British Red Cross welcomes the government’s announcement to allocate £2 billion to social care over the next three years with £1 billion being made available immediately, as well as the recognition of the need for a long-term plan.

The announcement was made today during the unveiling of the Spring Budget.

The need for funding

There is now widespread agreement that the shortfall in social care funding has put pressure on the health system in some areas, and left many without the care and dignity they deserve.

With £4.6 billion of cuts to social care funding between 2010 and 2015, 1.2 million older people are estimated to have unmet needs for care and support.

At least half a million fewer people are receiving care compared to ten years ago. This is despite an increase in demand.

This lack of adult care services has also put greater pressure on hospitals, with some A&E departments experiencing one of their busiest weeks ever earlier on this year.

Much of the pressure faced by hospitals at the front end stems from delays discharging patients where patients are fit to leave hospital, but cannot because the right care and support is not available for them at home.

The end result is people stuck in hospital beds that are needed for new patients, or they are discharged without adequate support.

Bridging the gap

The Red Cross helps hospitals by supporting patients to return home as soon as they are medically fit, making sure they are safe and freeing much-needed beds.

We also help vulnerable people in their homes before they fall into crisis and need higher levels of care.

But as the care situation has deteriorated, we have been called out to help in increasingly complex situations by people who have nowhere else to turn.

The Chancellor’s announcement today of further funding and recognition of the need for strategic reform is very welcome.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “We welcome today’s much-needed release of urgent funding to stabilise the troubled social care system in England. 

"We are also pleased that the Chancellor has recognised the need for strategic reform to build a system fit for the future, in the form of a green paper.

“There is now widespread agreement that the shortfall in social care funding has put pressure on the health system in some areas, and left many without the care and dignity they deserve. We are happy that the Chancellor’s announcement indicates this will now be properly addressed.

“We stand ready to play our part in building a health and social care model which not only addresses the shortfall in services, but also starts to bridge the gap between health and social care, and fulfil the vision of preventative support that can keep vulnerable older and disabled people out of crisis in the first place.

“This will take time to achieve and will need politicians, managers, medical staff, charities and family members to work together. Today’s move by the government is huge progress to finding a sustainable solution.”

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