• New money being provided by the Treasury, says party spokesman
  • Aims to reduce winter pressures on the NHS

Matt Hancock is expected to announce an additional £240m of social care funding to help meet demand this winter.

The money will be focused on reducing winter pressures on the NHS, the health and social care secretary plans to tell the Conservative party conference today.

A party spokesman told HSJ it is new money being provided by the Treasury, as opposed to being reallocated from existing health or social care budgets.

In a briefing statement, the Conservatives said: “Routed through local councils, this will fund packages of care to prevent older people from going into hospital unnecessarily and getting people home quickly when medically fit to leave.

“The money will be specifically focused on reducing winter pressure on the NHS, and councils will be allocated the funding based on the adult social care relative needs formula. They can also choose to spend the money on housing adaptions or taking measures to prevent hospital admissions as well as provide step down or other care packages.”

The money could buy 71,500 domestic care packages or 86,500 reablement packages, the statement added.

In previous years, the NHS has often received targeted funding to cope with winter related pressures, but national leaders have said there will be no separate revenue funding for the health service this winter. Around £145m of capital funding was brought forward last month, however.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, social care funding was cut by around 9 per cent on a per capita basis between 2009-10 and 2017-18.

Mr Hancock is expected to say: “We will use this money to get people who don’t need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home, back into their communities, so we can free up those vital hospital beds. And help people who really need it, get the hospital care they need.”

The sum appears to fall well short of most estimates of the social care funding gap, and does not address budgets next year and beyond.

Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow cabinet member for social care, said: “There is a severe crisis in social care caused by eight years of Tory austerity, and tinkering at the edges like this is not going to solve it.

“With 400,000 fewer people receiving care under this government than in 2010, funding such a small number of care packages is a drop in the ocean.”