£1m emergency fund ‘falls short’ of what’s needed
ROCHDALE council is to receive a £1.1m emergency funding boost for adult social care over the tough winter period – though the council’s cabinet member for health says the figure ‘falls short’ of what is needed.
The funds, which have come from central government, will be used to help free up hospital beds during the colder months as demand increases.
On an average day at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, an average of 37 beds per day are occupied by patients who no longer need to stay in hospital, according to figures from NHS England.
The measure, which, comes as part of a wider government cash injection of £240m nationally, was announced by Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, during a speech at the Conservative Party conference earlier this month. He said: “We will use this money to get people who don’t need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home, back into their communities, so we can free up those vital hospital beds, and help people who really need it get the hospital care they need.”
A ‘delayed transfer of care’ occurs when a patient remains in a bed after being officially declared ready for transfer.
Patients must be safe to transfer and signed off by both a doctor and a multidisciplinary team, which could include social or mental heath care workers, before they are classified in this way.
Rochdale councillor Iftikhar Ahmed, cabinet member for adult care, has been a long-standing campaigner for extra social care funding.
While he has welcomed the recent cash boost as a step in the right direction, he says that the funding ‘falls short’ of the level needed to address hospital capacity issues in the long-term.
He said: “Any extra cash is to be welcomed and I am pleased the government is listening to councils like Rochdale but this falls short of what is needed to address the national social care funding crisis. The government cannot keep asking councils to continually do more with less.
“We need long-term certainty, not short-term announcements, and next week’s budget is the perfect opportunity for the government to provide a lasting funding solution for social care.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but we now need real action not just warm words.”
‘It’s a step in the right direction but we need real action, not just warm words’
●●Councillor Iftikhar Ahmed