The Department of Health is making an extra £150 million available to local authorities to help people leave hospital more quickly and receive care at home, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced last week.
The extra money will be spent on social care so that people can get settled back at home with the support they need and have shorter stays in hospital. It will help to get the services in place that people sometimes need to live independently at home.
It will also enable local services to respond to pressures this winter.
In addition, the Department is providing an extra £20 million for the Disabled Facilities Grant, which can help people live independently at home, saving them from an unnecessary stay in hospital or going into residential care.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:
“Savings have been made in the Department of Health’s budget which we are investing to help people leave hospital as quickly as they can, when they are ready, and to receive support at home.
“Older people often need particular support after a spell in hospital to settle back into their homes, recover their strength and regain their independence. This money will enable the NHS and social care to work better together for the benefit of patients.
“This additional investment for health and care services is the result of determination to deliver savings, maintain quality and invest in services that matter to patients and their families and carers during the critical winter season.”
The money will be allocated to Primary Care Trusts, for them to transfer to local authorities to spend on social care support. Primary Care Trusts and local authorities will decide how best to use the additional funding to make the greatest impact on relieving additional pressures on hospitals over the winter period.
The extra £150 million funding is in addition to the £648 million allocated to PCTs this financial year to support social care services. This is already helping to maintain crucial preventative services like reablement, which gives people who are leaving hospital after illness or injury help and support for six weeks.
Care Services Minster Paul Burstow said:
“By reinvesting these savings in social care we can offer more help more support to older people leaving hospital. This investment will also build on the collaborative working between the NHS and councils at the heart of our modernisation plans.
“It is absolutely crucial that the NHS and local authorities work together to help people leave hospital when they are ready. The benefits are on all sides – patients get to go home with the support they and their families need, and hospital beds are freed up.
“This money will help cut the delays in getting the equipment and adaptations that people can need to enable them to live independently at home – saving them from an unnecessary stay in hospital or going into residential care.”
The Department of Health is also providing an extra £20 million for the Disabled Facilities Grant because a person’s home can have an important bearing on how well they can be supported to live at home independently. The extra funding will be provided to the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will distribute the funding to councils.
The additional funding will mean that more people can be supported by the Disabled Facilities Grant more quickly - this can prevent people needing more expensive residential or NHS care.
As part of the package of measures in the spending review, the Government is providing an extra £7.2 billion over the next four years to local councils so that they can protect services that support vulnerable people.
The Department of Health has made efficiency savings by good management of central budgets.