"Today's spending review indicates that the public sector deficit crisis is lasting longer that the Coalition initially anticipated. Whilst the need for the nation to live within its means is undeniable, a civilised society needs to care for the most vulnerable.
"The reclassification of some NHS budget to integrated care is a positive step forward and will certainly help promote the needs and potential cost savings of ensuring true integration of social care budgets. It has been clearly demonstrated by Torbay Health Trust that true integration provides better outcomes for our elderly population at home and dramatically reduces inappropriate use of hospital beds. It has also been repeatedly shown that up to 30% of hospital in-patients could be more appropriately cared for in another setting and this is therefore a huge opportunity to divert funds to provide better care in the community and reduce reduce costs to the hospital sector.
"However, with a further squeeze on local authority budgets - by means of a freeze on council tax and a 10% cut in local government funding - they will still have to make cuts somewhere and it's impossible to know where the guillotine will fall. If budgets for social Care are not preserved or ring-fenced, local authorities will increasingly restrict care to those with only the greatest needs and they will continue to be forced to chase price to the lowest common factor.
"The Government needs to cut, but society needs to care."