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Matt Hancock’s pledge to ease NHS winter pressures is a let down, say critics

Health and social care secretary's £240 million social care promise criticised – even in his own party

Health and social care secretary's £240 million social care promise criticised – even in his own party


Matt Hancock addresses the Tory party conference. Picture: Getty

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock today promised £240 million of social care money to ease NHS winter pressures.

But a leading party colleague said ‘short-term bailouts’ would not solve the problems and the Alzheimer’s Society called the announcement a ‘let down’.

Mr Hancock revealed his funding plan at the Tory party conference in Birmingham. He told his audience: ‘We will use this money to get people who don't need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home, so we can free up hospital beds.’

Social care reform expected soon

He said reform of social care was long overdue and the government would be publishing its green paper 'later this year'. Earlier this year, Mr Hancock’s predecessor Jeremy Hunt announced the green paper would be delayed until the autumn.

Local Government Association community wellbeing board chair, Conservative councillor Ian Hudspeth said: ‘Putting in place the right services and workforce requires forward planning and longer-term contracts.

‘Adult social care services still face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care,’ he said.

‘This money may stop some people spending Christmas stuck on a ward, but limited and poor quality care at home will mean they’re back in hospital before Easter’

Sally Copley, director of policy, Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society director of policy, campaigns and partnerships, Sally Copley described the amount promised as a ‘let down’ and less than 10% of what is needed to fix the social care crisis.

‘This money may stop some people with dementia spending Christmas stuck on a ward, but the limited and poor quality care available at home will mean they’re back in hospital before Easter.’

'Tinkering at the edges'

Labour shadow social care minister Barbara Keeley said: ‘Tinkering at the edges like this is not going to solve the severe crisis in social care.

‘With 400,000 fewer people receiving care under this government than in 2010, funding such a small number of care packages is a drop in the ocean.’


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