There is cross-party consensus within local government that integration is the only way to achieve a sustainable and effective health and care service.
National Health Service: We recognise the serious financial position of the NHS and the need to support vital health services. Social care plays a crucial role in managing demand for NHS services, which is why it should also receive additional funding. Supporting adult social care services in this way will help to reduce hospital admissions and ensure the safe and timely discharge of people from hospitals into the community. It is essential that the Government recognises sustainable social care will help to deliver sustainable local government services.
Social care funding: The new council tax flexibilities, and the Better Care Fund (BCF) investment, will provide some assistance with social care provisions. However, this does not address the full costs of policies such as the National Living Wage and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). On top of that, we know that councils will face additional cost pressures across all council services by the end of the decade, and this means local government will need to find further savings.
>Better Care Fund: The additional £1.5 billion given to the BCF for adult social care is a crucial investment for local government. Whilst the funding will help to address some of the issues with social care provision, it should be noted there is no increase in BCF funding until 2017 and the additional £1.5 billion will not be available until 2019/20.
Integration: Integrating social care and health is crucial for three reasons: to provide seamless, person-centred services; to improve the individual's experience of services; and to ensure best use of resources between health and social care. Integration requires wide scale system change, which must be led locally. Health and Wellbeing Boards are where all local system leaders come together to provide impetus, the accountability and the local knowledge needed to deliver service transformation, and they should be central to this process of integration.
Delayed Transfers of Care: We are committed to supporting councils to work with the NHS and with providers of adult social care to address Delayed Transfers of Care (DToC). The LGA and NHS England have recently published technical guidance for the Better Care Fund for 2016/17, which recommends that all local areas develop plans for addressing DToC.