Care bosses have questioned how the NHS will be able to tackle its backlog without urgent funds to address social care shortages that are preventing the discharge of patients.
Dr Jane Townson, chief executive of the UK Home Care Association (UKHCA), said proposals announced this week will not “scratch the surface” of the current workforce crisis.
The Government plans to raise £12 billion extra a year for the NHS and adult social care through a rise in national insurance next spring.
The NHS will get most of the share for the first three years, with £5.3 billion allocated to social care, £500 million of which will be spent on workforce training and recruitment.
Ministers say social care will get more money after this window as the £86,000 cap on costs, which will come into force in October 2023, starts to require funding.
Asked if she feels it will be possible to divert money from the NHS at the end of the three-year window, Dr Townson told the PA news agency: “They’ll never do that, they won’t do that.
“They’ve done a political calculation that voters… will support anything that they think will help the NHS, but you know, it’s going to be very difficult for the NHS to shift the needle without the surrounding services they need: general practice, district nurses, home care workers; the whole system needs to be invested in to make this work as a whole.
“Just pouring money into acute hospitals – yes you might be able to crank through twice as many new operations, let’s say – but then getting people home and having the rehabilitation to get them back on their feet, if that doesn’t happen then we’re no better off, really are we?”
Care Minister Helen Whately promised the Government will be keeping a “really close eye” on how extra funding will be spent by the NHS, amid the fears that cash could be swallowed up.
Jane Brightman, co-founder of the Outstanding Manager group and director of social care at the Institute of Health and Social Care Management (IHSCM), said members feel “very let down and frustrated”.
Last week, PA revealed that more than 200 IHSCM managers have had to turn down requests for care in the last month because of insufficient staffing levels.
The workforce is exhausted, with one manager recently telling Ms Brightman: “Short of knitting care workers, I’m out of ideas”.
She said: “It’s all very well for the Government to say ‘we’ll be supporting the NHS to discharge people’. Where are you going to discharge them to? There isn’t any capacity, it’s a misnomer, a total misnomer.
“And we know that care packages are being handed back, so people who are currently getting care at the moment, they’re just being handed back.
“That’s also terrifying, and we’re going into the winter, we know people are going to get flu, we know people are going to be falling, they’re going to have more UTIs and all sorts of things, they need much more care in the winter, and there’s nothing.”