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Government unveils £150m extra care home funds


The government has announced an extra £150 million for patients to receive care at home rather than in hospital.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said the money had been freed up thanks to efficiency savings in his department’s central budget.

Another £20 million is also being made available for the disabled facilities grant, which helps people live independently at home.

The move follows a warning from charity Age UK that cuts to local authority funding are creating an “absolute crisis” in social care for the elderly.

The influential King’s Fund thinktank has also cautioned that old people are often taking up valuable hospital bed space unnecessarily.

In a report last week, it urged the NHS to cut the number who arrived as emergency cases, but stayed for more than a fortnight - even after they had recovered from the crisis. Failure to tackle the issue could prevent the health service from achieving its target of £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2015.

The £150 million is in addition to the £648 million the government had already earmarked for primary care trusts (PCTs) to support social care services in 2011-12.

PCTs and local authorities will be able to decide how best to spend the cash to relieve pressure on hospitals over the busy winter period.

Mr Lansley said: “Savings have been made in the Department of Health’s budget which we are investing to help people leave hospital as quickly as they can, when they are ready, and to receive support at home.

“Older people often need particular support after a spell in hospital to settle back into their homes, recover their strength and regain their independence. This money will enable the NHS and social care to work better together for the benefit of patients.

“This additional investment for health and care services is the result of determination to deliver savings, maintain quality and invest in services that matter to patients and their families and carers during the critical winter season.”

Responding to the announcement David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Extra money is good news and this investment will help more elderly and vulnerable people get the care they deserve.

“It’s a recognition that the current system is underfunded, but the real issue remains the need for root and branch reform.

“As a society we cannot continue just papering over the ever-expanding cracks.

“For those entitled to taxpayer-funded care and support, councils are having to balance the long-term triple pressures of insufficient funding, growing demand and escalating costs.

“Alongside that are the ever-growing numbers of people who must pay the costs themselves, but still need information and advice to help them make the most appropriate choices.”



Readers' comments (9)

  • 'a warning from charity Age UK that cuts to local authority funding are creating an “absolute crisis” in social care for the elderly'

    Local authority homes are being closed because of these cuts and the public have been led to believe that the cuts and closures are because there is a better alternative. What a load of tosh. Why wasn't this money made available sooner to keep these valuable local authority services? The government want us to think they are being generous now, instead they are just being devious. They want similar services from the private sector, which in my experience are not up to the same high standard.

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  • this just means that more people will be expected to fund second rate care at home instead of free in hospital. to remain at home there are still all the bills to pay for those who have savings but how can care be affordable on top of that especially if it is long term. even short term would make a large hole in a household budget. furthermore, does this mean day care and leave the elderly lying in soiled incontinence pads all night long?

    how can local authorities be trusted to spend the money wisely? just throwing more money at a dysfunctional system isn't going to work. What is needed is a fair, equitable and accessible infrastructure for all which is part of the NHS or replacement system but not just clusters of private systems and local authorities dotted all over the country where some needing care will either have to pay far too much for or slip through the net.

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  • I am confused

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  • tinkerbell

    once all the hospital beds are freed up and all care is being provided in the so called 'community', then there will be lots of empty beds in the hospitals - which can be used by private patients.

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  • ullswater

    working in a private nursing home I see the problems of poor funding all the time. The poor funding means that already poorly paid care staff (minimum wages) have had all their overtime pay stopped, even for bank holidays such as Christmas day. No wonder it is so hard to find good staff and hang on to them. Morale is low and they all feel undervalued. Few carers want to do extra hours and they really don't like having to work weekends and bank holidays because of this. We end up understaffed at times because of this and of course this means residents suffer, however hard we try for them. Of course they, and their families then complain but we are not allowed to say that we are short staffed; so what are we supposed to say, that we don't care and have been sitting drinking tea all shift? Chance would be a fine thing!

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  • Anonymous | 6-Jan-2012 7:25 pm

    if you can't say you are short staffed it means that the home is putting the onus and blame on you for not providing adequate care.

    Openness and honesty is usually the best policy and would probably be better understood and accepted by relatives who may then be more willing to offer their help and also have more confidence in you and in the home and its management. It sounds like openness and firm and honest discussion with management is called for here after all staff are employed to provide a service and it is they who are responsible for the service they provide.

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  • Talking about elderly people blocking acute beds.The area I live had a purpose built 3 storey geriatric unit, with a minimum of 24 beds on each level. We also had a rehab hospital with 4 wards holding about 2o plus beds.These took all the elderly patients from the acute hospital thereby not having bedblockers. What did the powers that be do? closed these 2 hospitals so now we are left with no beds in the general hospital creating a nightmare situation.Elderly people with social problems waiting social input and nursing homes which have no beds.Poorly patients lying on trolleys for goodness knows how long. We had the perfect situation but people with authority who know nothing closed them down. We have lost approximately 150 elderly patient beds and they wonder why the general hospital has no beds as they are blocked with the elderly patients who need aftercare!

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  • Enid Martland | 8-Jan-2012 1:19 pm

    it is a very strange mentality and nobody seems to understand what they are doing themselves!

    they close excellent services such as these and then simply create far more serious and probably more costly problems.

    Are we being led by a bunch of total idiots? In no other European country have I heard of such disgraceful, chaotic and damaging healthcare.

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  • I think youve hit the nail on the head We are being led by a bunch of idiots. They shut hospitals then bring out new discharge rules that patients have to go home sooner but theres nowhere for them to go if theyre not ready to be discharged. Then theyll blame the nurses and the hospital for not fulfilling the discharge procedures.Theyre idiots!!

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