Social care cuts 'piling pressure on GPs and hospitals'

London should take control of its health and social care budget and have a health commissioner to help the mayor coordinate policy, the report argues.

SOCIAL CARE cutbacks mean services are failing patients and piling pressure on doctors' surgeries and A&Es, according to a new survey of GPs.

The poll of 1,000 GPs by the Care & Support Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 charities, shows 92 per cent believe social care services are not providing sufficient levels of care.

Eighty-nine per cent said cutbacks have put extra pressure on their surgeries, while 93 per cent said a lack of care is putting pressure on hospitals and fuelling delayed discharges.

Between August 2010 and December 2016, delayed discharges from hospital because of a lack of home care increased by 230 per cent. Last year, the NHS lost 650,000 bed days, costing up to £300m.

Social care funding has been cut by a third - £4.6bn - over the past five years, the alliance said. It has warned that the Government's measures to increase social care funding are a "drop in the ocean".

More than eight out of 10 GPs polled by the CSA believe the situation will only get worse over the next two to three years.

Councils have warned that social care faces a £2.6bn funding gap by 2020.

"Our social care system is letting people and their families down by denying them basic care such as help getting out of bed, getting out of the house or even having a fresh meal. More than a million people with difficult conditions are being denied the chance to live as well as they deserve," said Vicky McDermott, chair of the CSA.

"GPs are on the frontline, a witness to what happens when you take basic care away from people - it damages their health and means they need more expensive care from the NHS.

"Philip Hammond needs to use the Budget to invest in social care. The Government needs to address the crisis in social care, which is resulting in the NHS picking up the tab and people not getting the care they need."

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "The case for new funding for social care is now overwhelming. The services that provide care and support for elderly and disabled people are on the brink of collapse.

"Council tax-raising powers announced by Government will not bring in enough money to fully protect the services which care for elderly and vulnerable people today and in the future. The social care funding crisis needs a long-term, sustainable solution not short-term fixes that merely paper over the cracks in the system.

"Adult social care is about much more than meeting people's basic needs. It is about aspiring to help people live their lives to the fullest, and with dignity, not simply just get by.

"We urge Government to act in next week's Budget and inject genuinely new funding into social care."