The national disability charity Sense has repeated its call for urgent government investment into social care. The action follows today’s report from the National Audit Office (NAO), which revealed that the ‘Better Care Fund’, designed to incentivise the integration of health and social care and deliver better outcomes or patients and service users, has failed to meet its first year targets 2015/16.

The NAO report shows that demand for health and social care services has grown faster than resources can manage.  There was an increase of 87,000 emergency hospital admissions (2014/15 – 2015/16) and an increase in delayed transfers of care of 185,000 over the same timeframe, despite plans in the Better Care Fund to reduce them.

The report also highlights that NHS England has failed to properly assess how pressure in social care can impact the NHS.

Richard Kramer, Deputy Chief Executive at Sense, said:

“Since 2012, spending on the NHS has increased 11%, while expenditure on social care by councils has decreased 10%. Cutting social care means that more demand is placed on the NHS, and it is patients, and older and disabled people that suffer.

The situation unfortunately looks set to get worse, with our social care system chronically underfunded, the deficit predicted to grow to at least £2 billion by 2020, unless action is taken.

The consequences of doing nothing are clear; without long-term integrated planning and significant new funding into social care; more and more people will be left without the essential services that they need to live independently and in their communities.”