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Budget 2017: still not enough funding for social care, but government Green Paper is coming

22 November 2017

British Red Cross is disappointed that today’s budget has not addressed the funding shortfall for adult social care in England.

The £2 billion announced in the Spring Budget will help prevent further service reductions, but it is not enough to address the impact of successive service cuts. These cuts have resulted in unprecedented levels of unmet need. By 2020, it is estimated that adult social care in England could face a £2.3 billion funding gap.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “We are disappointed that today’s budget has not specifically addressed the funding shortfall for adult social care in England. It is well recognised that social care is struggling to cope and that this adversely affects the NHS.

“The funding announced today for the NHS is welcomed, but we also need to ensure people can get the right care and support they need at home. This enables people to leave hospital as soon as they are fit and well and helps to reduce overall pressure on the NHS.

“We know the challenge facing our health and social care system is huge, but it is not insurmountable.”

Adults of all ages deserve care

We are relieved that the government has recommitted to its Green Paper on social care. At the same time, we are concerned about the paper’s limited focus on older people. Adults of all ages should get the care they deserve in order to live independent and fulfilling lives.

The Green Paper provides a much needed opportunity to ensure our system is not just properly funded. Specifically, the consultation needs to look at the gaps – the unmet needs. It should also provide proper investment in preventative services, to ensure people receive help before they reach the point of a health and social care crisis.

By putting people at the centre of their care we could develop a system that ensures everybody gets the right support at the right time – and people can get on with living and enjoying their lives.

Red Cross social care programmes provide insight

The British Red Cross has been working in the space between home and hospital since before the NHS was established.

Last year, our UK health and social care services helped 80,000 people to live independently at home. We also helped thousands of people through a combination of support services, including transport to and from hospital. In addition, we provided 100,000 people with short-term access to mobility aids, such as wheelchairs.

All of these services help prevent a situation from escalating and enable people to regain their confidence and independence. This unique position, working within both the community and in hospitals, helps us to understand where people are falling through the gaps.

Any meaningful exploration of social care should look at ensuring people are prevented from falling into a health and social care crisis and enabled to live their best lives.

Fixing our health and social care system needs to remain a priority.

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