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Use NHS cash for care

19th September 2007

A senior local government official has called for NHS funding to be diverted to fund social care if needed.

Local Government Association chairman Sir Simon Milton said he feared that the rationing of social care would get worse if councils did not get adequate funds in the next government spending settlement.

While acknowledging that NHS deficits had been in the headlines recently, he said that social services had also felt the impact of financial constraints but said that such care had a key role in preventing people ending up in hospital.

Sir Simon said the NHS had received a 90% increase in its budget since 1997, compared with 14% for social services.

He said councils were hoping for an increase of 2% above inflation but if it was much lower, they would struggle to provide services without council tax rises. The LGA says, if necessary, 0.5% of the NHS budget should be diverted into preventative care services.

He said: “Without additional funding, local government may potentially face a situation, by as early as 2009, where it cannot afford to provide support to 370,000 people with lower levels of need.�

He said there was a compelling argument for ministers to invest in preventative services, provided by councils and that would save the NHS money.

The NHS Confederation said it was important that both the NHS and local government were given adequate funds.

Local Government Minister John Healey said councils should wait for the settlement, rather than try to second guess it.

 

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