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  1. ITV Report

Social care sector in need of 'urgent injection of money'

The leader of one of the region's biggest care providers says the sector needs an urgent injection of money in the Chancellor's budget tomorrow, in order to keep going.

Somerset Care runs 29 care homes across Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset, as well as providing home help.

98-year-old Peggy has given up independent living after a bad fall. Credit: ITV News

Dr Jane Townson leads Somerset Care, she says that local authority contributions aren't enough to keep the system afloat, and many care providers are struggling to stay in business.

850 000
people in the UK live in a care home

A lot of social care is funded by local authorities. Legally, they have to help anyone with less than 23,250 pounds in assets. For the very poorest people, authorities pay the lot.

But that funding is just 75% of what care actually costs, meaning many care providers are going out of business.

£1.5bn
Dr Townson argues this is the national sum needed to plug the gap in funding

Dr Townson argues that the lack of local authority money has made recruiting for care staff more challenging - with many care workers on close to the national living wage.

However, a pilot scheme funded by Yeovil Hospital is providing free NHS rehab care to get people out of the hospital, and then back home, more quickly. But to keep the scheme running local authorities will need to help with funding.

Yeovil hospital is running a pilot scheme to get people home quicker. Credit: ITV News

Hospital managers have found this intense rehab can nearly halve ongoing care needs. This would be a big saving for the hospital, and the local authorities who might have ended up paying for the extra care.

The whole system benefits. The problem is just finding the funding upfront to do it. So if I were speaking to Philip Hammond, I'd say, 'make it easier for those kind of collaborations to work'.

– Dr Jane Townson, Somerset Care