Alzheimer’s society comments on report highlighting urgent need for NHS funding

A report by the Richmond Group has highlighted that significant funding into the NHS, social care and public health is urgently needed if they are to be sustainable.

The report titled, Destined to ‘sink or swim together’: NHS, social care and public health, found that providing funding to one service in isolation will not sustain the others, leaving them vulnerable to collapse if they all aren’t funded correctly.

Some of the key findings from the report include:

  • Spending on adult social care in England fell by 8 per cent in real terms between 2009/10 and 2016/17. Taking into account population growth alone, spending per adult fell by 13.5 per cent over this period.
  • The 2015 Spending Review announced cuts to public health funding of nearly 4 per cent a year. By 2020 this will reduce real terms spending by at least £600 million a year. This is on top of the £200 million cut in year from the 2015/16 budget allocation.
  • Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, NHS spending grew at one of the lowest rates in its history at 1.1 per cent a year, followed by a below average 2.3 per cent up to 2016/17. Taking into account population growth, per capita spending has increased by just 0.6 per cent a year over the whole period since 2009/10.

Sally Copley, Director of Policy Campaigns and Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The stark revelation that spending on adult social care has fallen, while the number of people with dementia has continued to rise, explains why people with dementia have been left out in the cold. People with dementia are the biggest users of social care. Calls to our helpline tell harrowing tales of people forced to choose between a hot meal and a wash, and left to shoulder crippling care costs sometimes as high as £500,000.

“An integrated health and social care system would protect people affected by dementia from these devastating costs whilst delivering a service that better meets their needs. But more funding is urgently needed to make this a reality.

“With social care reform just around the corner they must work out how to deliver high quality social care to everyone with dementia who needs it, and at a fair price – or the system will collapse and people with dementia will continue to suffer.”