More than one-and-a-half million in extra funding is being pumped into social care in Southwark in the hope it will help stop an NHS crisis throughout the winter – but will it go far enough?
Southwark Council will receive £1,570,648 as part of a new £240 million fund announced by the secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock, earlier this month.
The funding is aimed at helping to get patients home quicker and free up hospital beds across England. In total, local authorities in London will get more than £37 million.
According to the government, funding could help with home care packages for patients leaving hospital, pay for workers who help patients with everyday tasks and help them regain mobility and confidence, and home adaptions such as shower rails, preventing people from staying in hospital long after their treatment has ended.
Matt Hancock said: “I want to help the NHS through this winter.
“I have already provided funding for hospitals to make upgrades to their buildings to deal with pressures this winter, and I am making an extra £240 million available to councils to pay for social care packages this winter to support our NHS.
“We will use this money to help people who don’t need to be in hospital, but do need care, to get back home, into their communities, so we can then free up those vital hospital beds, and help more people get the hospital care they need.”
In preparation for the winter, the NHS received £145 million across the country to spend on upgrading wards, redeveloping A&E departments, and to fund an extra 900 beds.
More than £36 million was given to ambulance trusts to fund 256 ‘state-of-the art’ ambulances.
The NHS is also aiming for every single one of its frontline workers to be vaccinated with the flu jab to protect patients.
This year, for the first time, children in year five will also be offered the vaccine.
Councillor Jasmine Ali, cabinet member for children, schools and adult care at Southwark Council, described the new funding as a ‘sticking plaster’.
“The council welcomes this funding to support NHS winter pressures, however there is a year round, year on year increase in demand for social care services that this Conservative government has failed to address,” she told the News.
“They know that we are an ageing population and they know that the funding system for social care is broken, so this funding, while welcome, is a sticking plaster rather than a solution.
“If the government wants to show that they actually care about fixing the problem, they need to get on with publishing the Green Paper that they have been promising since the summer.
“Our residents who need our care and attention the most deserve more from this Conservative government.”