“The fact that nearly a quarter of a million more people attended A&E between January and March this year than in 2017, and the NHS provider sector reported a near £1 billion deficit at the end of 2017/18, is extremely worrying.“
Responding to an end of year report for 2017/18 on NHS finances, including winter pressures, Cllr Linda Thomas, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“The fact that nearly a quarter of a million more people attended A&E between January and March this year than in 2017, and the NHS provider sector reported a near £1 billion deficit at the end of 2017/18, is extremely worrying.
“Despite the enormous pressures faced this winter, social care staff have also worked tirelessly to continue to provide care and support to people to keep them in their own homes and communities, as well as help facilitate a safe and timely discharge from hospital - without this support the NHS would potentially be in further crisis.
“If the NHS is to reach its 100th birthday, and if we are to avoid an all-year round winter crisis, it’s imperative that adult social care - which is facing a tipping point - is put on an equal footing with the health service.
“Adult social care is a vital service in its own right and needs to be fully funded to future-proof it for the rising numbers of people who need care and reduce the number of providers from pulling out of contracts or going bust. Government needs to give urgent funding to councils to invest in prevention which will reduce demand and cost pressures on the NHS by preventing people from being admitted to hospital in the first place.
“But we cannot afford to wait for the adult social care Green Paper reforms to deliver; we need action now. As a down-payment on funding reforms, government needs to fully plug the funding gap facing adult social care, which is set to be more than £2 billion by 2020, including £1.3 billion that is needed now to stabilise the provider market.”