Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the all-party Health Select Committee has sent a letter to the Treasury, calling on the government to take action to finance social care properly in the impending Autumn Statement. The Committee states that this is essential to help cope with the impending financial and care crisis facing the NHS. The Select Committee reinforces the often repeated plea for the government to recognise and act on the existing and growing social care funding shortage.
The letter emphasises the impact of real terms cuts on vulnerable people who need care as well as the knock on effect on the NHS. They point out that the ‘extra’ 2% council tax had been ‘entirely swallowed up’ by the recent increase in the minimum wage.
Judy Downey, Chair of the R&RA, commented:
We congratulate Dr Wollaston on telling it like it is to her colleagues who control the purse strings. Her message reinforces the equally worrying conclusions in CQC’s State of Care report. Our Helpline provides daily evidence that older people are too often placed at the back of the queue for care”.
Factcheck: The full terms of the Committee’s letter show why the government’s claimed “£10 billion commitment” to extra health spending isn’t all of what NHS leaders asked for, and isn’t as generous as it sounds. In truth over the spending review period to 2020-21, the increased payments for NHS England will amount to only £8bn not £10bn; and the actual rise in health spending in England — including areas such as public health and social care, where nearly half of that amount will be taken away again by further cuts – will be only £4.5bn over the same period.