As the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary, London Councils is calling on the government to commit to the future sustainability of the wider health and care system.
While the government has announced extra funding for the NHS, pressure continues to mount on social care, public health, and other crucial services provided by London’s boroughs that support Londoners’ health and wellbeing.
Reductions to boroughs’ budgets combined with a growing and ageing population mean adult social care in the capital faces a funding gap of £300 million by 2020. Since 2015, £50 million has been reduced from the Public Health Grant received by London’s boroughs from central government, which funds activities such as smoking cessation, obesity, and sexual health advice.
London Councils believes the government must ensure social care and other community-based services receive the resources they need, otherwise it will prove difficult to address skyrocketing levels of demand for NHS acute services.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot MBE, London Councils’ Executive member for health and care, said:
“The NHS is among this country’s proudest achievements, but it does not stand in isolation from the rest of the health and care system.
“London’s boroughs work in close partnership with the NHS. Whether considering childhood obesity, dementia, mental health, or any other of London’s major health and care challenges, it’s clear the boroughs have a key role to play.
“The health service alone cannot be expected to tackle everything. Local government influence over areas such as housing, transport, leisure and recreation, all contributes to Londoners’ health and wellbeing.
“When local government sneezes, the NHS catches a cold. Social care helps relieve pressure on the health service by keeping people out of hospital or by enabling swift transfers of care. Public health services are critical to reducing avoidable illness.
“This is why it is so important to adopt an integrated approach to health and care and to ensure all parts of the system are properly resourced for the long term.”
Notes to editors:
The government has promised to publish a green paper on social care for older people – originally due this summer, but now delayed.
In addition to ensuring that any additional funding benefits the health and care sector as a whole, London Councils is urging ministers to use the delayed green paper as an opportunity to develop a long-term solution for the future funding of social care.
Placing social care finances on a firm footing is an essential step towards deeper integration of health and care, which will drive improvements to Londoners’ health and to the sustainability of services.