Headlines: October 4th, 2010

Heads of social services have warned that cuts in services will be unavoidable unless the NHS invests rapidly in social care. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Service has, however, assured ministers that members will do all they can to make savings in care budgets that will not damage front line services.

At a special meeting of ADASS members received a paper encouraging directors to focus strongly on a number of key areas including ensuring information about local services is available so people do not turn to health and social care earlier than they need to, making sure support is available at the most economic cost, getting relevant agencies to work together and ensuring that individuals are expected and enabled to make a fair contribution to their support either financially or informal support from family, friends or volunteers.

But ADASS President Richard Jones believes reductions in adult social care budgets of the scale talked about recently will lead to `serious inroads’ into services for older people, and people with learning and physical disabilities “unless a reality is made of integrated local authority and NHS budgets.” Mr. Jones added: “A social care system that has to find the major savings we are anticipating does not bode well for the NHS, particularly in the straitened circumstances health service colleagues are expected to be facing in the coming years, despite the protected’ status of their budgets.”

He said moving social care services and budgets more closely alongside the health service would mean fewer delayed discharges from hospital, fewer unnecessary readmissions and savings to both the NHS and local government.