The £648m NHS funding assigned to developing ‘reablement’ care in 2011 has largely been used to plug gaps in existing social care.
According to health consultancy MHP Mandate, nearly half of councils have failed to invest the money in new integrated care systems to support early discharge from hospital and home-based treatment.
However, the Local Government Association claims that deep cuts in local government budgets rendered the initiative impossible.
In January 2011, the Government reassigned £2bn from the NHS to social care over two years in order to develop integrated care systems that would enable patients to leave hospital earlier, receive care at home and avoid readmission.
This programme focused on a major area of the NHS Outcomes Framework.
However, the report from MHP Health Mandate found that investment in the new services varied strongly between councils, with nearly half spending most of the money on established services.
For example, the proportion of the new funding spent on special discharge schemes providing temporary support to people leaving hospital was only 8% on average, despite reaching 40% in one Kent council.
Mike Birtwistle, Managing Director of MHP Health Mandate, said: “Simply funding more of the same will not deliver better social care services.”
However, Cllr David Rogers, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, noted that councils had suffered a 28% funding cut in 2011, which “gifts of extra cash here and there” could not redress.