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LGA responds to NAO report on health and social care integration

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, responds to the National Audit Office report on health and social care integration.

"Integrating health and social care is more vital than ever before and there are many examples across the country where local health systems are integrating to the benefit of those in need of care and support. 

"Research we recently published set out the evidence for providing more integrated care and found that helping more people to be independent and looked after at home or in the community could save the health and care system more than £1 billion annually.

"Ensuring people return and remain at home for longer, stay well and independent is better for them and will always cost less than if they are left languishing in a hospital bed with nowhere to go.

"We agree with the NAO that for Sustainability and Transformation Plans to be effective in driving the redesign of local health and care services, councillors and communities need to be at the heart of the planning process, not consulted afterwards on pre-determined solutions. Any failure to engage councillors will lead to vociferous opposition.

"However, integration alone cannot solve the financial challenges facing health and social care.

"Social care faces a funding gap of at least £2.6 billion by 2020. Extra council tax income will fall well short of what is needed to fully protect the services which care for elderly and vulnerable people today and in the future.

"Only genuinely new additional government funding for social care will give councils any chance of protecting the services caring for our elderly and disabled and ensure they can enjoy dignified, healthy and independent lives, live in their own community and stay out of hospital for longer."

View report:  Health and social care integration

Notes to editors

The LGA, NHS Confederation, NHS Clinical Commissioners and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have developed the first vision for integration based on forming care around the needs of individuals. This is alongside a practical toolkit of resources that is helping local health and care leaders move further and faster on achieving their vision of integration.

Research by consultants Newton Europe commissioned by the LGA found up to one in four people admitted to hospital do not need to be there and could be looked after elsewhere if better use was made of services available to treat people in the community.

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