Hancock to announce £240m emergency bed fund

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to teak the Conservative party conference that the government will provide an emergency £240 million to enable more elderly people to be cared for at home.

The social care funding will help councils pay for measures like housing adaptations and care packages and ease pressure on the NHS this winter.

This past January one in five patients faced long delays for a bed, with NHS England figures showing that the number of seriously ill patients facing delays for a bed reached record highs, with 1,000 waiting more than 12 hours.

The £240 million, to be channelled through local authorities according to their relative adult social care needs, could buy 71,500 domestic care packages or 86,500 ‘reablement’ packages.

Hancock will say: “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 Local Government Association’s Ian Hudspeth said: “Councils successfully used extra social care funding from the government last year to reduce delayed transfer of care days attributable to social care by 37 per cent since July and alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS. This has proved that there cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable social care system.

“However, short-term bailouts are not the answer. Councils and providers cannot simply turn services on and off as funding ebbs and flows. We must find a long-term funding solution for adult social care and support, and that is why the LGA recently launched its own social care green paper to drive forward the public debate on what sort of care and support we need to improve people’s wellbeing and independence, the need to focus on prevention work, and, crucially, how we fund these vital services.”

“The government must use its own upcoming adult social care green paper to address the fundamental problems facing adult social care and ensure full and sustainable funding so that people will always have access to quality and reliable care and support that helps them live independent, dignified lives.”

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