There are “grave doubts” over attempts to integrate health and social care due to unprecedented financial pressures on the NHS, a group of MPs has concluded.
A report by the Commons health committee, published on Tuesday, said ambitions for the cost cutting new models of delivery required by the Five Year Forward View were in danger of not being realised on the scale required, as transformation funds were “almost entirely” being used to plug hospital deficits.
Long term cuts to adult social care funding had also resulted in councils’ capacity for efficiencies being exhausted, the report added, with increasing numbers of people no longer receiving the care they need and resulting in additional costs for the NHS.
The committee called for the government and NHS England to explain how they would respond if proposed measures in the forward view failed to address the increasing funding gap.
The committee challenged the assertion made by the government at the time of last year’s spending review that funding for health would increase by £8.4bn above inflation by 2020-21.
It said this figure was defined in terms of NHS England’s budget, which excluded estimated cuts to spending on public health and training of more than £3bn.
This meant total health spending would increase by just £4.5bn in real terms, the committee said.
A spokesperson for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said councils need nearly £1bn this year to deliver services at the same level as last year.
They added: “Desperately needed additional funding will not arrive until the end of the decade.
“If this money is not brought forward, we are genuinely worried that it will not only be too little – it will be too late.”