Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley has pledged £150m extra funding for Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to alleviate the impact of social care needs on hospitals. A White Paper on social care is to reveal detailed plans for funding reform later this year.
Extra funding for 2012
The government is to provide an additional £150m by doubling the amount allocated to PCTs for reablement services (defined by the Department of Health as ‘assistance regaining independence if daily living skills are lost through illness or injury’) in 2012-13. The money is part of the £87.5bn allocation made to PCTs for 2012-13. Mr Lansley’s initiative follows a warning by Age UK director Michelle Mitchell that, ‘Care is in crisis and it is getting worse.’
Pressure on hospitals was specifically identified as a problem by a recent King’s Fund report on ’emergency bed use’. This presented data showing that patients who stay more than two weeks are, in general, older than those with a shorter length of stay; almost 80 per cent are aged over 65 and just over 30% over 85. Typical diagnoses among older patients with very long length of stay include stroke, hip fracture, pneumonia and urinary disorders.
White paper pressures
The government intends to reveal more detailed plans for social care in a White paper, now scheduled for Spring 2012. Legislation follows an extensive consultation process and the Dilnot Commission, which produced a widely welcomed report on social care funding last year. A group of 60 organisations and experts recently sent an open letter calling on the government to deliver ‘urgent, fundamental and lasting reform’. This was echoed by a Local Government Association spokesman, David Rogers, who said: ‘There is no doubt about the urgency and need for reform’.
Care services Minister, Paul Burstow, acknowledged the need for change, saying that: ‘The coalition agrees that the reform of social care- and the dignity and independence of older and disabled people- are an urgent priority’.
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