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Mind the Gap - Cuts to councils risk hitting the vulnerable and undermining our NHS

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Lewisham Labour has warned that massive government funding cuts to local councils risks hitting the most vulnerable and undermining the NHS.

Adult social care is one of the most important services councils deliver, providing care and support for older people and disabled people at their own house or in a care home. Some 170,000 Londoners receive care from their council.

Independent research  released by Red Lines today shows that huge cuts in government funding to councils and growing demand for adult social care risk leading to a £1.7 billion black hole in care funding by 2020. Red Lines is a London-wide campaign led by Labour Councillors, and supported by Lewisham Labour, to stand up for Londoners against damaging Tory cuts.

ASC-infographic_(10).jpgThe funding gap risks seriously undermining the availability and quality of care for the most vulnerable in our society. But the research shows that the cuts also jeopardise our NHS. Nationwide, there is growing pressure on the NHS as a result of insufficient adult social care. Hospitals are increasingly finding vulnerable elderly patients coming in to A&E – one in four hospital patients suffers from dementia and half of admissions are over 65. The pressure on the A&E has meant the Government has missed its 4 hr waiting target consistently for the last five years. And hospitals are increasingly struggling to discharge patients due to insufficient adult social care. The number of hospital days lost to delayed discharges is at a record high.

Lewisham Council has done its best to protect adult social care spending. But with the scale of the cuts forced on the council, and with adult social care making up an ever growing proportion of council spend, this is becoming increasingly difficult. The Council is also working closely with Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to ensure that health and social care works well together, and that vulnerable people get the support they need in the appropriate place.

Lewisham Labour will continue to campaign with Red Lines and with others across London to fight back against vicious Tory cuts.

Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London said ‘a city can be judged by the way it cares for its vulnerable residents. As Londoners, we all want our city to pass that test. But the Tory government, with its relentless cuts to councils’ funding, is making that impossible.’

Heidi Alexander MP for Lewisham East and Shadow Secretary of State for Health said ‘this research is further proof that the Tories’ plan for funding older people’s care in London, and across the country, is woefully inadequate. The growing crisis in social care is one of the key reasons why the NHS in London is under so much pressure. Since David Cameron came to power, thousands of older people living in the capital are no longer getting the crucial help they need. This is leading to many more people in their 80s and 90s ending up in hospital unnecessarily and having to stay there because of a lack of care in the community. Ministers cannot allow this neglect of social care services to go on any longer.’ 

Cllr Chris Best, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Older People said 'the 2% Council Tax precept won't raise nearly enough money to make up for the cuts the Tories are forcing on us. Despite this, we're continuing to work closely with the Clinical Commissioning Group, and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to ensure services to older residents meet their needs in these difficult times.'

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