Patients will be left “stranded” in hospitals and GP waiting rooms unless more money is found for social care, leading medics have warned.
In a letter to the Chancellor ahead of the budget, leading British healthcare groups warned that more money needs to be ploughed into social care and public health services.
Without investment in these areas, “consequent demand on NHS services will not be manageable”, according to the letter.
It was signed by the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Nursing, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Public Health and Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare.
The authors said the funding gap in social care services – estimated to be £3.5 billion by 2025 for adult care services in England alone – needs to be plugged as “a matter of urgency”.
“If services caring for older and disabled people are not properly funded, both they and our patients in primary and secondary care suffer,” they wrote.
“People who could and should be supported in the community will remain stranded in our waiting rooms and hospitals.
“This not only leads to poorer outcomes for them, it significantly reduces the resources available to treat other patients.”
They also called for more money for public health services, saying “every part of the system is linked”.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We have provided local authorities access to £9.6 billion in dedicated social care funding over the last three years.
“Our green paper due later in the year will set out our plans to reform the social care system to make it sustainable for the future.”