There’s a warning from local government that extra money being pumped into the NHS may not solve the winter pressures problem.Winter planning officers for local councils have voiced concerns over staff, resource and funding shortages.
There is a particularly acute shortage of care staff, particularly those in basic grade posts. There is also a claim that, while some of the additional NHS winter pressures monies are being passed on to councils, social services departments have received little additional direct funding to cope with growing demands.
That said, according to a new briefing document from the Local Government Association, effective partnership working between local government and the NHS do show promise of being able to tackle the problem in the long term.
Nearly three-fifths of authorities who took part in a recent survey reported that they were already using the flexibilities introduced by the Health Act, or are about to. These allow for even closer co-operation with health authorities, including pooled funding.