Government allocates £240 million to councils to help NHS over winter
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced a £240 million investment into adult social care during winter, aiming to help local authorities ease pressures off the NHS by getting patients home quicker and freeing up hospital beds.
Announced by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, the extra funding hopes to reduce delayed transfers of care and will be allocated to councils based on the adult social care relative needs formula.
Matt said: “I want to help the NHS through this winter. I have already provided funding for hospitals to make upgrades to their buildings to deal with pressures this winter, and I can announce that today I am making an extra £240 million available to councils 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.”
The issue of delayed transfers of care – or bed blocking – has been in the news recently, with the BHTA calling for bed blocking to be treated as an emergency and releasing plans to tackle the issue. The Government’s £240 million is a step towards helping this problem.
With the investment, the Government says that it could pay for one of the following: 71,500 home care packages to help patients get out of hospital quicker; roughly 87,000 reablement packages to support workers to help patients carry out everyday tasks; or nearly 27,000 home adaptations.
The funding brings total Government investment in the healthcare system over winter to over £420 million.
Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “Helping patients go home when they are ready is vital to easing pressure on the NHS, particularly busy A&E departments.
“So, as the government develops a comprehensive social care funding solution, hospitals will rightly welcome this targeted funding to ease pressures on the NHS this winter by paying for extra care packages and care home places for frail older people.
“Over the past 18 months, the NHS and councils have worked together to cut delayed discharges, freeing up 4 hospitals-worth of beds across England. This money will allow councils to build on that progress.”