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The Autumn Statement 2016: joint statement on health and social care

The King’s Fund, Nuffield Trust and The Health Foundation are urging the government to address the critical state of social care in its forthcoming Autumn Statement.

The briefing calls on the government to recognise the immediate funding pressures facing the sector by bringing forward to next year funding from the Better Care Fund which is planned to reach £1.5 billion in 2019/20. It also makes it clear that the NHS funding settlement will need to be revisited in future financial statements.

Key messages

  • Total health spending in England will rise by £4.2 billion in real terms between 2015/16 and 2020/21. This will result in a real-terms increase of on average 1.1 per cent a year over this parliament.

  • Real-terms funding increases of 0 per cent in 2018/19 and 0.3 per cent in 2019/20 will not be enough to maintain standards of care, meet rising demand from patients and deliver the transformation in services outlined in the NHS five year forward view.

  • Public health spending will fall by at least £600 million in real terms by 2020/21, on top of £200 million cut from the budget in 2015/16.

  • While there are significant opportunities to improve productivity in the NHS, the pace of change required to deliver £22 billion of savings by 2020/21 is unrealistic. New inflationary pressures are also emerging that will increase costs and make pay restraint harder to sustain.

  • The number of people aged over 65 accessing publicly funded social care has fallen by at least 26 per cent over the past six years.

  • Even if the vast majority of councils choose to levy the new precept on Council Tax as they did this year, the publicly funded social care system faces a £1.9 billion funding gap next year.

  • UK public spending on social care is set to fall back to less than 1 per cent of GDP by the end of this parliament, leaving thousands more older and disabled people without access to services.