Health Service Focus

18.11.19

Ending social care crisis is a ‘critical priority’ for health leaders

UK health leaders are demanding an end to the neglect on social care, claiming NHS patient care is suffering as a result.

The NHS Confederation leads the Health for Care coalition of 15 national health organisations and are calling for a sustainable and long-term settlement.

The government’s extra £20.5bn investment is at risk of being misspent as the strain on social care continues to rise and key targets for hospital care and A&E have hit their worst levels since record began.

A snap poll carried out by the NHS Confederation, including more than 130 health leaders, found that 97% of leaders in the survey agree that social care is having a damaging effect on the NHS and patient care.

Over 70% said that creating a sustainable social care system was a ‘critical priority’ for their specific setting.

With the upcoming election, the Health for Care coalition is calling on parliamentary candidates to take action in fixing social care to ensure that everyone is getting the help they need.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“This survey demonstrates just how seriously the social care crisis is impacting the NHS. We have seen the most challenging performance figures in recent days and they certainly reflect the fact the health service is having to deliver alongside a social care service that is on its knees.  

“We accept all the main political parties say they are committed to tackling this issue, but we now need action not words. And we shall be looking closely at the manifestos to gauge how seriously they are taking the issue.

 “With 122,000 vacancies across social care services and 1.4 million people believed to be going without the care and support they need every day, the incoming government must seize the opportunity and come forward with proposals that will last a generation and more.”

The coalition is suggesting the introduction of cross-party talks to deliver a more sustainable social care system, supported by a long-term financial settlement.

They are also calling for a more genuine long-term funding and key reforms to benefit future generations, including a widening of the eligibility criteria to get the most vulnerable patients the support they need.

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