Social care “discharge fund” announced

Health and social care secretary Therese Coffey has announced a package of measures intended to strengthen the NHS this winter and the next.  Among the measures is a £500 million “Adult Social Care Discharge Fund” aimed at helping more people out of hospital into social care.

Government figures indicate that there are 13,000 people occupying hospital beds who should be receiving care in the community.  Coffey said that the initiative, called “Our Plan for Patients,” would also improve access to GP appointments and allow more retired staff and volunteers to take up roles in the health service.

The government still plans to spend an extra £5.4 billion on social care over three years, despite abolishing the 1.25% national insurance levy originally intended to pay for it.  But Alzheimer’s Society said on Friday (7 October) this was “nowhere near enough” and called for a 10-year dementia strategy and long-term investment.

Society CEO Kate Lee said: “We don’t treat care workers well enough – they’re overworked and underpaid.  If we continue to treat them like this, they will burn out and find new jobs, and unfortunately the proposed funding to fix this crisis won’t scratch the surface of what’s needed.”