Government scheme to ease social care pressures branded 'little more than a ruse'
Public Accounts Committee says Better Care Fund failed to meet goals
A government scheme launched to ease the crisis in social care was “little more than a ruse” according to a damning report by MPs.
The Better Care Fund was used to merely “paper over” funding pressures and failed to meet all of its targets, the Public Accounts Committee said.
The scheme was established in 2014 and encouraged local councils and health organisations to work together to ease the pressure on hospitals and reduce ‘bed blocking’ by bringing together money into one pot to tackle the problem . In 2016/17, £5.9 billion was pooled in the BCF.
But the PAC slammed the scheme for failing to meet its goals and accused top health officials - including NHS England boss Simon Stevens - of having "an appallingly casual attitude" to the targets.
"The Better Care Fund was little more than a ruse to move money from the health sector to social care, disguised within an overly bureaucratic initiative that purported to integrate health and social care services," the committee said in its report.
"The Local Government Association told us the fund was simply plugging a gap in money that had been cut from local authority budgets, while demand for care was rising."
In a separate report the PAC blasted Government plans to increase access to GPs and said many patients were struggling to book appointments at surgeries that regularly close at points during the week.
And in a third it condemned the failure to address issues in the ambulance service.
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