Cheltenham's MP, Alex Chalk, has called for the Government to “bite the bullet and increase social care funding”.
Speaking in advance of this week's Budget (8th March), Mr Chalk made the call during a health and social care debate in Parliament.
Referring to the reported shortfall in health and social care funding (by the Kings Fund) of between £1billion and £2billion, he said:
“On the shortfall, does my hon. Friend agree that the time has come to bite the bullet and increase social care funding?
“Does he agree that doing so in the short term would provide the financial headroom to enable trusts like mine in Gloucestershire to achieve the meaningful reconfiguration of services through the STPs that will reflect the changing health priorities and demographics?“
Speaking after the debate Mr Chalk commented:
“We need to recognise the current pressures facing social care in Gloucestershire. Cheltenham has a growing retired population who have earned - and deserve – our support. We need to be honest about the financial pressures that demographic change is causing locally and nationally.
“There are 1million more over 65s than 2010. There are 300,000 more over 80s. There is a ticking financial time-bomb that needs to be addressed.”
Mr Chalk added:
“Of course money alone will not fix the problem. Gloucestershire’s CCG and local authorities are developing solutions within the STP to meet future need and priorities.
“But I believe they need an injection of additional investment now, particularly in areas like delayed discharge (bed blocking), re-ablement and domiciliary care (home support). This week’s Budget is the perfect opportunity for the Chancellor. Making an investment now will pay dividends in the future.''