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New funds to kickstart joint working with NHS and councils this winter

Extra money for councils to get people home from hospital more quickly and stop them from being admitted in the first place.

The government has found new funds to encourage more joint working between councils and the NHS.

In a bid to ease the pressure on the NHS during the current cold snap, the Department for Communities and Local Government and Department of Health have released an extra £37 million for councils to get people home from hospital more quickly and stop them from being admitted in the first place.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has this week provided £12 million to help join up health and social care services so that there aren’t delays for people who can be safely discharged and to avoid people needing to go to hospital in the first place (perhaps because of falls or flu).

The money will mean up to 3,500 more people a week will get home from hospital more quickly this winter, with the local authority putting in place carers and equipment to meet their needs, freeing up much-needed hospital beds within the NHS.

The extra cash is on top of the £700 million the Department of Health has found for the NHS to help manage its winter pressures and a further £25 million that councils have already been given this month to help speed up the discharge system.

It also comes ahead of the introduction in April 2015 of a £5.3 billion Better Care Fund, which will start to transform the way the NHS and councils work together to put people first and enable them live at home with dignity and independence for longer.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:

Social services have to be part of the solution to the high demand on hospitals at the moment. We know that they can help by getting people home more quickly when it is safe to do so once they have been discharged. And we also know that the best social care can prevent some people from having to go to A&E in the first place by supporting the elderly to live with dignity and independence at home.

From April our £5.3 billion Better Care Fund will start to transform the way we join up health and social care so that there aren’t separate systems and phone numbers for solving the same problems. It will prevent up to 160,000 A&E admissions and save over £500 million in the year ahead. But with hospitals under pressure in the cold weather this winter we have also found extra money to help out now.

Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb added:

We planned for winter earlier than ever this year and we constantly review what additional measures we can take to ease the pressure on services. This new funding means that every local authority now has extra money to help tackle the pressures on hospitals. We know the NHS is busier than ever before, which is why we’ve given a record £700 million this winter for almost 800 more doctors, 4,700 more nurses and 6,400 more beds.

We have also provided councils with an extra £25 million to councils to provide additional social care packages to help people move out of hospital. The NHS and local authorities are already preparing joint plans to work together better, keep people well and avoid hospital admissions. This new money will help speed up that work this winter.

Further information

This press notice applies to England only.

The new £12 million funding is from Department for Communities and Local Government underspends in 2014 to 2015 and will be allocated to 87 councils through ring-fenced grants for social services immediately, weighted towards areas with significant demand for home care packages who have not previously received additional funding this winter.

Earlier this month the Department of Health allocated an additional £25 million to the 65 councils to with the highest level of delayed discharges from acute hospitals due to social care. The focus of this money is to provide additional social care packages which both help people move out of hospital and support them in regaining their independence – meaning that they are less likely to return to hospital in the future.

Through this money, the government estimates that over 9,500 people can be supported to move out of hospital either back into their home or into a residential care setting.

Both these allocations of funding are on top of the additional £700 million for the NHS announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in December to help deal with winter pressures in 2014 to 2015.

From April 2015 a joint £5.3 billion Better Care Fund (£3.8 billion of central government money topped up by at least £1.5 billion of local contributions) will be shared between local councils and NHS organisations to provide more dignity and independence for the elderly and vulnerable by supporting people to live at home, preventing A&E admissions and getting them home from hospital more quickly when they do have to be admitted.

In 2015 to 2016 this is projected to:

  • prevent around 160,000 A&E admissions and 101,000 fewer unnecessary days spent in hospital by reducing delayed transfers of care
  • keep 12,000 more older people still at home 3 months after being discharged from hospital and 2,000 more older people at home instead of going into care homes
  • save over half a billion pounds

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