Working with social care

older woman with carer

Healthcare and social care are inextricably linked. 

With local authorities experiencing unprecedented funding cuts over the last few years, many councils (90 per cent) are having to restrict access to care by tightening eligibility thresholds. Four hundred thousand fewer people now receive publicly funded social care.

This is having an impact on the NHS, with many Confed members reporting knock-on effects – especially in hospitals. Our 2015 survey of more than 300 senior healthcare leaders found that:

  • 92 per cent agree that cuts to social care funding are putting more pressure on their organisation and services for patients.
  • Pressures include an increase in the time an individual remains in hospital (79 per cent); increased demand for community services (69 per cent); increased numbers of individuals attending hospital (67 per cent) and increased number of people being admitted to hospital (66 per cent).
"Social care is on its knees and the NHS is feeling the pain," the head of the NHS Confederation, Rob Webster said in March 2015.

What can be done?

Experts predict a £4.3 billion black hole in social care budgets by 2020. Alongside the £30 billion funding gap facing the NHS, urgent action is desperately needed. Eighty-seven per cent of leaders in our survey support the need for binding agreements on NHS and social care spending over the next five years.

We are ramping up our efforts to secure a sustainable long-term settlement for both the NHS and social care.

What are we doing?

  • Working closely with the Local Government Association (LGA) to influence the upcoming spending review, pushing for a sustainable long-term settlement for health and social care.
  • Working with policymakers involved in the Better Care Fund (BCF) ensuring lessons are learned from the planning process for BCF1 and to influence future BCF developments.
  • Monitoring and influencing elements of the Devolution Bill which could have consequences for the NHS.
  • Producing case studies on how the NHS and local government are working together to redesign services.
  • Hosting an event in the autumn, with the LGA, on integrating health and social care.
  • Ensuring a flexible legal framework for sharing data across health and social care, through the work of our NHS European Office on changes to the revised EU law on data privacy.

Integrating health and social care: key resources

Effective integration can improve quality of care and patient experience by more effectively coordinating the services a patient receives.

We have produced a number of resources and policy papers to support members' integration efforts at local level. Several have been produced in partnership with local government and social care bodies.

All together now: Making integration happen

Papering over the cracks: The impact of social care funding on the NHS

Joining up health and social care personal budgets: Key points on implementation

Making integrated out of hospital care a reality

Joint personal budgets: a new solution to the problem of integrated care?


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