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Cuts in Social Care: Impact on NHS


The Oxford City Locality Patient Participation Group is hosting a meeting on 26/11/2016 to talk about the impact cuts to the adult social social care budget on people who use NHS Services. This is a link to the flier.


The context of course is the County Council's proposal to cut more than £20 million from the adult social care budget from 2015-16 (more than twice the amount proposed last year when the Council announced its strategy for 2015-18). The consultation document itself makes it quite clear that the Council is expecting many of the cuts to shift responsibility for meeting people's needs to the NHS. What is quite scandalous is that they expect the shift to take place by people becoming more ill as a result of support being withdrawn.


A good example is the £273,052 the Council hopes to save by withdrawing funding for the falls service, which it currently co-funds with the NHS. As the purpose of the service is to prevent people who may fall and injure themselves from doing so, it seems reasonable to conclude that the cut will result in more falls. I guess an alternative would be for the NHS to make up the shortfall, but the NHS also has problems - an estimated £30 billion budget gap, £22 billion of which will probably have to be met from cuts.


Another example is a proposed £660,000 cuts to the budget that supports carers. As the Council notes:


"If carers do not receive the support they need to sustain them in their caring roles, this could lead to more pressure on carers and increase the risk of needing emergency services for the cared for person."


We know that the Council is in a difficult position. As Council Leader Ian Hudspeth recently outlined to David Cameron, central government support for the local authority has fallen by half in the last 5 years, with the remainder disappearing by 2020. Other revenue streams are also shrinking, and needs are increasing. Whilst it is arguably important to resist these divisive, damaging and iniquitous cuts at every level, it is important to remember that we are seeing the inevitable impact of central government plans.


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