10/03/2017

Call For £120m Fund To Be Invested In Social Care

Much of an additional £120 million fund for Northern Ireland should be used to tackle the local adult social care system, according to Ulster Unionist Party representative Robbie Butler.

Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled details of the Spring Budget on Wednesday, 08 March.

During his speech in the House of Commons, he outlined how the Executive's resource budget by £90m through to 2019/20, with the capital budget receiving an extra £30m through to 2020/21.

UUP representative Mr Butler has now called on the funding to be used to alleviate the "immense pressure" local care is under, stating investing in social care is no longer an option, but an "absolute necessity".

"Northern Ireland's health service is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, with more people waiting longer for diagnosis or treatment than at any other time in its almost 70-year history," he said.
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"Every aspect of local care is under immense pressure, including the support for our elderly. A legacy of underinvestment in primary and social care, combined with a rapidly ageing population, has contributed to a system that is really struggling to cope and which is already failing to meet demand.

"This is most evident with a critical shortage of care packages for older people who are ready to leave hospital but can't because they have no suitable place to go. It is my strong belief that much of this additional funding should be invested in the local social care system.

"The Ulster Unionist Party last year revealed that in the previous 12 months alone there were 68,000 instances of delayed discharges – better known as bed blocking, many because no social care package was available. Even a modest £10m investment in local social care would provide over 1,200 domiciliary care packages of 2 hours per day.

"The local NHS is under huge pressure, and the chaos in our hospitals is being compounded by the failure to adequately meet the needs of our older people."

(LM/JP)

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