How the social and health care sectors responded to the Autumn Statement

Last week’s Autumn Statement was met with mixed reactions from across the social and healthcare sectors. Here we take a look at how some of the media responded to the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Speaking to Caring Times:

Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust, said: “Despite today’s extra investment in social care, care services in England remain on the brink of collapse – increasing funding for the NHS while leaving local councils short of cash is like painting the front door while the house is on fire.”

Jane Ashcroft, CEO of Anchor, said: “The proposal to allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 2% to fund social care is woefully short of what’s needed. It also risks a postcode lottery of care in which the poor and the old face the biggest tax hikes.”

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The Government’s commitment to fund a dementia research institute offers hope and we welcome the recognition that the NHS cannot function effectively without investment in good social care. However, the new money promised today will only go some way to covering the £4.3 billion social care funding gap estimated by 2020. Today must be a first step towards ensuring the vital lifeline of social care for people with dementia.”

Speaking to HealthInvestor:

Martin Green, CEO of Care England chief, said: “Not every authority will raise the council tax by 2% and even if they did, that only raises £500 million and the Better Care Fund has not been spent on independent care services, so this will not help at all. Local government has suffered significant cuts over the last five years. Perhaps it should consider taking social care out of local control, setting an appropriate funding tariff for social care, and applying this across the system. This tariff needs to be about £1,400 a week [for each resident in a care home], which equates to just over £8.30 an hour. We [independent care providers] needed £3 billion and we have got less than £500 million.”

Phill Hall, Director of JLL healthcare, said: “The 2016-17 financial year is likely to be a very tough challenge for those social care operators focused on providing elderly care to local authority funded residents. More defaults and restructurings are likely in the lowest fee areas,” he said. “For companies able to weather the near term storm, and those focused on niche markets and the private pay sector, the outlook, in contrast is far more promising.”

Glen Mason, Managing Director of HC-One, said he was “very, very disappointed by the spending review. He added that a potential £2bn in additional funding through the social care precept still left “an enormous hole in just meeting the cost of care…I think that a lot of care providers are going to be looking very carefully at their books in light of the statement and undoubtedly some providers may go out of business because there is not a real solution there.”

Speaking to Care Management Matters:

Colin Angel, Policy Director of United Kingdom Homecare Association’s, said: “Regrettably providers will take little comfort from Treasury announcements of £3.5bn funding for social care through councils choosing to increase council tax or being successful in accessing the Better Care Fund. There has been little evidence of funding making its way to frontline services, where employers desperately need to remain financially viable and provide adequate terms and conditions for the social care workforce. Councils (and the people who rely on state-funded social care) now face significantly higher risks of local market failure, even if they use what options are available to them to increase funding for the independent and voluntary sector.”

Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, said: “The social care funding settlement is woefully inadequate. The spending review offered Government a chance to put social care funding back on track financially yet this important opportunity has been lost. There is very little in the announcement to be welcomed by providers of voluntary sector disability services. Inadequate resources will force care providers to cut services or cease operating altogether, leading to an increased pressure on NHS emergency and hospital services. The welcome investment in the NHS will vanish before our eyes. At this time, more than ever, we need to build constructive relationships between CCGs and local authority commissioners and disability organisations.”

Richard Kramer, Deputy Chief Executive of Sense, said: “We’re extremely disappointed by the lack of a long-term vision for social care. Providing councils with the flexibility to raise revenue themselves for social provision isn’t a solution. The total that could potentially be raised by this ‘new power’…is insufficient to make any real difference to a social care system that is quickly spiralling into crisis.  The ‘new power’ will have the least effect in the areas of the country where property values are lower, while we know that the need for social care is higher in areas with higher levels of poverty.”

What do think about the Autumn Statement? Let us know your thoughts.