Headlines: October 21st, 2010

A 28 per cent cut in council budgets over the next four years will have a severe impact on care services. In a move to improve efficiency to limit the harmful effect of the cut, the Spending Review has provided for £1b to be moved from the health capital to health revenue budget. It will be spent on measures that support social care, where there are also benefits to health.

It is recognized that investment in social care will both improve people’s outcomes and benefit the NHS. By ensuring that people remain independent they can be support to remain active in their communities, whilst at the same time reducing unnecessary hospital admissions and speeding discharge after a crisis.

Evidence to support this funding switch from the health to the social care budgets comes from the Bournemouth and Pool total place pilot. The project report describes how by providing adequate social care, unplanned admissions to hospital can be reduced by 15 per cent with a saving to the local primary care trust of £6.6m.

At the ground level the project team found that by spending £299 per week on social care on an elderly person who was regularly in and out of hospital, it was possible to avoid frequent hospital admission costing £365 per day. In addition, there were fewer visits to practice nurses and to GPs. Apart from the difference in costs, the quality of life was much improved.

The project report also highlights that more than funding is required. Without leadership and a cultural change, this transformation of services will not happen.