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Government funding to support vulnerable residents is delayed

Herefordshire Council logoHerefordshire Council, alongside ten other local councils in the West Midlands, is urging the government to release social care funding to ensure vulnerable residents continue to be supported.  

The government announced in July that local councils would be required to meet a new national target by September to reduce the proportion of NHS beds unnecessarily occupied due to delayed discharges from hospital to 3.5%.  If councils fail to meet this target, NHS England has indicated that it will not release their Better Care funding, which is used to deliver critical services for older, vulnerable residents.

In the West Midlands, the funding totals approximately £150million, of which Herefordshire receives £4.5million.  This is used by local councils to fund a range of essential services to support vulnerable residents to safely leave hospital, including home care, residential / nursing care and reablement, all of which directly support NHS services. Since the start of 2017, a sustained effort by councils has already led to a significant reduction in the number of people delayed in hospital, because they are waiting for social care.

Councillor Paul Rone, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Our adult social care service works hard to ensure older, vulnerable residents can be safely discharged from hospital, at the right time, with the correct level of support in place.

“If this essential government funding is not released, the services provided to support residents to live safe, healthy and independent lives will be severely affected and as winter approaches, it could have a drastic impact on local people.  It will also significantly increase the pressure on our local NHS service, meaning the delayed hospital discharges target will never be achieved.

“We are therefore urging the government to provide immediate assurance that local councils will receive their funding in full, so as to ensure our county’s most vulnerable residents continue to be supported and protected. It’s simply unacceptable to change the rules partway through the year and threaten to withhold money that had previously been promised.”

To find out more, please read the letter sent to the Secretary of State for Health.

Published: Thursday, 21st September 2017