Increased Social Care Funding Could Reduce GPs

  • The Chancellor's decision to triple the social care funding in 2015-16 could result in a dramatic reduction in GPs.

     George Osborne's announcement of shared funding across health and social care to create a combined service has sparked concern from the Royal College of General Practitioners

    According to the Royal College, the increased funding for social care could mean a reduction of £180 million to GP funding, the equivalent of 2,390 doctors being axed.

    However, the Department of Health say that it is crucial to invest in social care to reduce pressure on the NHS with preventative measures, so that less people are admitted to hospital in the first place. They are looking to invest in improving care, which is essential and will only help improve general health.

    The concern is that Osborne's spending review proposed taking £2bn for local authorities to spend on social care.

    An analysis by the college shows that family doctors stand to lose about £200m in two years time, and they urge the government to guarantee that none of the money put into the pooled fund would be diverted from general practice.

    The college's chair, Dr Clare Gerada, said:

    Our analysis shows that, in reality, the budget for general practice in 2015/16 could suffer from savage cuts.

    At a time when we are already struggling to cope with the demands of an ageing population and a patient client group that has increasingly complex health issues, it is ludicrous that the chancellor has put in place a programme that risks taking millions of pounds out of general practice.

    A Department of Health spokesman said:

    This isn't a loss of money from the NHS to social care - we are creating a joint fund that will benefit both. Spending money on social care not only provides a better service for individuals, it also eases pressure on the NHS.

    If we are to improve the care of the most vulnerable in society we have to invest in services that can help keep them out of hospital when they don't need to be there.

    GPs will play a crucial role in this, helping to commission services with local authorities for their local population.


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