The fund will help 54 local authorities provide care for vulnerable people outside of hospital, but critics say it is a “sticking plaster”
Councils across England will receive a £40 million cash boost to provide social care and free up hospital beds this winter, the Government has announced.
The fund will help 54 local authorities provide care for vulnerable people outside of hospital, but critics say it is a “sticking plaster” concealing a deeper crisis of funding.
Councils can also use the money to provide home care packages and discharge patients sooner, the Government said.
Minister of State for Care Helen Whately said: “We know winter will be challenging, which is why we started preparing earlier than ever before so people get the care they need.
“We’re supporting local councils with targeted funding to use where it’s needed most.
“With a focus on speeding up hospital discharge and increasing social care provision, this money will help the NHS care for people through the winter.”
Kent will receive the greatest proportion of funds, more than £2.8 million, followed by Hampshire, which will receive around £2.2 million.
City of London will receive just £22,891, the smallest proportion of funds.
The Independent Care Group (ICG), a non-profit, gave a “guarded” welcome to the announcement but urged the Government to introduce wider reforms of the social care sector.
ICG chair Mike Padgham said: “Any extra money coming to local authorities to ease pressures this winter has to be welcomed and I am pleased that the Government has heeded warnings about the challenges care providers are facing.
“The money will, in the main, help provide more homecare and will ease some pressures.
“However, this is another piece of knee-jerk, piecemeal funding that does little to tackle the underlying problems within social care.
“We need proper reform that will provide better funding for the sector, pay staff properly and ensure adequate social care provision all the time, not just an emergency sticking plaster when hospitals are bursting at the seams.
“And it is important to say that, once divided across quite a long list of local authorities in need, that extra money doesn’t go very far.
“We must also ensure that it is spent on the delivery of care at the sharp end and not lost in bureaucracy as has happened before.”