Social And Health Care Services “Part Of A Single Bridge”

In the wake of the recent Counsel and Care survey, directors of adult social services have renewed their calls on government to improve the balance of funding between the health and social care services in order to enhance services for older people, either living in their own homes or in residential or nursing homes.

{mosimage}According to ADASS Vice President John Dixon: “The survey confirms what several other studies over the past two years have highlighted. Cash-strapped social care budgets are being increasingly exposed as such by the relentless, but very welcome, rise in the numbers of people living far longer than they have in the past.” According to Mr Dixon, the former social services departments as well as the emerging adult social services departments ‘have more than proved themselves up to making the efficiency savings demanded of them by government.’

“We are going ahead creatively blending our new, wider local authority services with our core social care tasks. We are also taking a strong lead on personalisation of services, including the introduction of Individual Budgets. But none of this will compensate for the consequences of the demographic changes we are facing.

“All the pointers suggest that those demographic changes are likely to see their numbers continue to increase: in some cases older people will have greater complexities of need as well. If there are no new resources local authorities will inevitably have to raise the thresholds at which people become eligible for services.

“That is something we have done with great regret, and have tried to avoid. However, there is a limit, in the current financial circumstances, to how much we can invest in preventive services, despite seeking to improve both the quality and quantity of services to people with only moderate levels of need.

“With ever quicker throughputs of hospital patients, solutions which would see NHS resources following older people as they leave hospital and return to their communities would go a long way towards easing the pressures.

“Social and health care together provide a single bridge between individuals and their broader wellbeing. If one side of that bridge deteriorates so much that it becomes uncrossable, then no matter how much you look after the other side, the crossing will not be completed. Once part of the fabric of a whole system wears thin, the whole edifice is in danger of collapsing,” He said.

“As a member of the Caring Choices group of organisations we would ask the new Chancellor of the Exchequer to look again at this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review to see if either new money, or funding generated from current NHS acute services can be found to help us with this task.