While the health and social care sectors continue to face financial ruin, the latest spending review from the Chancellor has offered little support to resolve the crisis. Although George Osborne announced that local councils now have the power to raise funds for social care provision for the elderly, this does not provide an acceptable answer to the funding crisis. As part of an overall effort to reach a plausible resolution to this crisis, policy makers should look to home care as an alternative solution.
It was reported over the weekend that the council scheme will widen the huge spending provision differences between wider and poorer areas. It will also raise just £800m per year, which is far lower than what Osborne was looking for. This is clearly not a long-term approach and will see social care providers close, placing greater pressure on the NHS.
While sustained investment is required across the whole social sector, home care can alleviate some of the immediate pressures the care sector faces by providing a more cost-effective solution for elderly care. Home care can often be used to great effect to act as a preventative measure. It can provide the elderly or vulnerable with the support they need before allowing a problem to escalate. It is more cost-effective than residential care and as such, would also reduce the outgoings on the public purse. It is also useful in reducing the impact of bed blocking in the NHS.
Bed blocking is an issue that costs the NHS millions, and could easily be reduced through extra home and social care funding, as examined in previous Prestige Nursing + Care blogs. We firmly believe that home care can bring substantial benefits to elderly clients and the health care sector. With the added benefits of independence and comfort in their own home, the elderly are given invaluable support in familiar settings. By injecting funding into home care, the government could provide relief for the NHS and support that the social care sector critically needs.
The UKHCA has expressed their worries with the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and warns that the government needs to acknowledge that home care plays a vital role in supporting people outside of hospital. Appropriate funding needs to be allocated. The only way to solve the funding crisis is to consider how each aspect of care can work together to look after our population, and provide adequate funding to help them do this.