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Sunday 24th June 2018

NHS 'shunting' social care costs

21st March 2007

Elderly and vulnerable people are being hit by the NHS cash crisis, through cuts in social care funding.


The Local Government Association said local authorities were being left to pick up the tab for social care by cash-strapped NHS organisations.

Two-thirds of the 95 councils surveyed by the LGA said the NHS debts had affected their social services departments. A number of council leaders have met with health ministers to express their concern.

Hospital bed closures, community staffing reductions and longer waits for hospital admissions were among the common problems affecting local authorities.

A third of councils said they were taking more responsibility for NHS cases, and 40% said the knock on effect of the financial pressure in the NHS was worse than in previous years. This had left social services departments struggling to meet costs and maintain services.

Social services and the NHS are meant to work together to provide seamless social care, but the survey revealed funding disputes were rising, with almost a quarter of councils claiming the NHS had failed to fund joint services in elderly care.

The NHS Confederation said a number of local authorities had pushed costs towards the NHS with rising workloads for community staff and out-of-hours services.

The future of NHS continuing care and nursing support is currently under review, raising concerns that this type of healthcare may be lost or become self-funding.

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