Is Thurrock health boss doing enough to get more funding?

LAST week, we received a statement from the leader of Essex County Council in which he made a passionate and desperate plea for more funding for adult social care.

Despite being a Conservative leader, it was direct and hard hitting and many local residents in Essex may well have felt that it was written by someone who was “batting for them”.

Cllr Finch makes specific financial requests of the chancellor in the run up to the autumn statement.

As no proactive statement was made from Thurrock Council. we asked the Thurrock councillor with the same responsibilities to tell us if he would make the same appeal (s).

We leave it to you to compare and contrast the two statements……

From Cllr Halden

Cllr James Halden, cabinet member for Education and Health says he “sympathises with the concerns raised by Cllr Finch in Essex this week”.

He continued by saying: “We are aware of the ongoing issues in Adult Social Care and the health system. Not too long ago, the people of Thurrock were told about the ‘Internal Critical Incident’ at our local hospital in Basildon.

“Clearly there is an issue, and we are working hard at a local level to do our part. More widely, I have made a submission to the parliamentary select committee, who are looking into the issue and Thurrock Council has signed a declaration to encourage more funding into adult social care and health services.

“Thurrock spends a proportionately similar amount on Adult Social Care as Essex. However, this is considerably less than was spent five years ago even though, since that time, demand for services have grown due to the increasing numbers of older people and the dramatic rise in the complexity of care.

“To really tackle the issues, we have to work in partnership and I’m convinced the new health Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) will go a long way.”

He finished by saying: “There is a lot of work to be done still, and we will continue to monitor, review and suggest improvements through consultation with Thurrock’s residents.”

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Statement from Essex County Council leader, cllr David Finch

The system designed to look after elderly people across the county is
at crisis point and must be addressed, Essex County Council leader
David Finch has said.

With the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, due to give his first Autumn
Statement later this month, Cllr Finch has called on him to make
social care funding a priority.

The call comes following reports from the Care Quality Commission and
various think tanks that suggest social care is facing a crisis
nationally.

The cost of Social Care

Cllr Finch said: “In Essex we currently spend more than £1million a
day on Adult Social Care. This figure is increasing, and at the same
time we are seeing a rapid increase in the older population.

“Over 85s currently make up more than 51% of users in adult social
care.

Over the next 10 years this will grow by 50 per cent, and in 20 years’
time, the current budget would be completely taken up by over 85s
alone.”

But while the older population continues to rise, according to Age UK,
spending on social care has fallen by £770 million since 2010.

Council Tax rises not a long term solution

Last year saw the Government allow councils to implement a two per
cent ‘social care levy’ on to Council Tax bills to help address the
funding issue, but this is not seen as a long term solution.

Cllr Finch added: “In Essex this additional money equated to
£11million – two weeks cover – and does not even cover the cost of the
new national living wage which was also implemented.

“This does little to address what is a national issue which is now at
crisis point.”

The asks of Government

Writing to the Chancellor, Cllr Finch has outlined three asks of the
Government:

Bring forward the Better Care Funding planned for 2020. A pot of money
already approved by Government, this could provide much needed social
care investment now.

Protect investment into public health and reverse £160 million of
public health savings planned for the next two years. These savings
create a false economy and will lead to greater pressures on the NHS.

Give Councils clarity on any future planned reforms, enabling them to
plan for the future.

Cllr Finch said: “We hear little from Government in terms of the
importance of addressing the social care challenge, but it is one of
our biggest health sectors – the care industry employs more than 1.5
million people across the UK – more than the NHS.

“And importantly, the ongoing strain on the system means with Social
Care at breaking point, there is a knock on impact on the cost to the
NHS through delayed discharges, which are on the increase.

“There is also the cost to the economy of people dropping out of work
to care for relatives, estimated nationally at some £1.3 billion a
year through foregone taxes and benefits for carers.

“This is the biggest challenge we face and an area that we need to be
an absolute priority for the chancellor.”

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