Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, today (22nd September 2014) revealed that new Department of Health plans will demand a 3.5% cut to social care schemes for the elderly and the ill by local councils on Teesside.
“I have learnt that, because of government panic over the rising numbers of admissions to acute hospitals A and E units and an overload at GP surgeries, Ministers have now told Department of Health civil servants to divert nearly £1 billion of cash for the coming year which was earmarked for the “Better Care Fund” – a fund that would underwrite care at home for people needing social care, often after early discharge from hospital – back to acute hospitals to try and stem the demand on their A and E units.
“Put into local context, it transpires that all the Teesside Boroughs have been told that they have to make a real term cut of 3.5% in their plans for the coming year. NHS England has told each council to expect “an associated reduction in funding automatically available.”
“This is a deep cut that may mean even greater costs if councils had already made contracts for care services which may now have to be terminated at worst, or re-negotiated at best.
“This is a crazy decision in both care terms and in terms of logical planning. The cash which was to have gone to home care will now go back to hospitals to, in part, speed up discharges to relieve the pressure on people lingering on trollies in A&E units, and which, in turn, will put more pressure on those very home care services dealing with early discharges.
“The thing that grates with me is how this has been done at a time when Parliament is not sitting and that makes it difficult to hold Ministers to account. It just shows, yet again, that you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.”