By Leon A Smith
October 22, 2010
Many social care charities across Britain will have welcomed the government’s announcement in the Comprehensive Spending Review that £2 billion is to be provided for adult care. However, if we look closely at this new allocation, as half of the allocation is coming from the NHS, is this really new money for the sector or is it more of a ‘robbing Peter to pay to Paul’ mentality?
What controls will be put in place to ensure that local authorities use the money for the purpose for which it was intended? How can we be certain that it will not be used to plug other holes in their budget? After all, this money is not being ring fenced.
As the true nature of the CSR begins to become clear and experts begin their speculation, one thing is for certain – there is going to be less money available to our homes than ever before.
I fear the local authorities are moving the goal posts too far for residential care funding, which could mean that future funding will become increasingly difficult to obtain for people who will no longer meet local authority criteria, especially when as part of the CSR, every local authority has been told to reduce its budget by 7.1%
Care homes in the community have already made significant efficiency savings. If local authority social care funding does reduce further other services will have to be cut and our charities will have to rely even more on the generosity of the community.
As the UK care system struggles to muddle on, it has become increasingly apparent that the national regulator – the Care Quality Commission – is overstretched and seemingly under resourced. If they are to pick up the responsibilities from the newly abolished quangos, they must receive additional funding – this is yet to remain unclear. A strong and well resourced regulator is not only in the interests of all care providers, it is in the interest for our community, residents and families.