Two thirds of NHS leaders believe cuts to council spending have impacted on their services over the past year, prompting warnings that the system is “heading for collapse”. 

The survey, by the NHS Confederation, was released this morning ahead of the publication of the government’s white paper on social care.

It found 66 per cent of NHS leaders said funding shortfalls in local authority spending had impacted on their services over the past year. A further 18 per cent said they may have had an impact. 

Meanwhile 92 per cent of respondents said there were more delayed discharges from hospital. 

Half said there were more emergency readmissions, and more than half said demand for hospital services was on the rise. 

Health leaders also expected demands on NHS services would increase further over the next decade. More than three quarters called for integration of care, and 63 per cent said it would be necessary to expand community-based care.

The social care white paper, which has been widely leaked since the weekend, is expected to contain a commitment to a cap on the amount any individual would have to spend on care. 

However it is understood that how the scheme will be funded is yet to be agreed, as it will cost an estimated £2bn in new funding.

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said that although the government’s commitment to addressing the issue was welcome, NHS managers found it “unacceptable” that patients were being admitted to hospital because they were unable to access council care. 

He said: “This is the time for action. Without reform, our health and social care systems are heading for collapse. For the sake of the NHS, local authorities, patients and carers, we all need a resolution now.