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County council leader says NHS 'can cope with what it's got' - and makes plea for more social care funding

Posted on 31/01/2018 by

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David Hodge's comments come after the boss of NHS England said improvements in mental health and cancer care may not materialise due to lack of funding

The leader of Surrey County Council (SCC) has said he does not believe the NHS needs additional funding and has argued instead for greater investment in social care.

Councillor David Hodge told a meeting of the council's cabinet committee on Tuesday (January 30) he makes no apologies for holding the view the NHS is not suffering from a funding crisis.

His statement comes little more than two months after the boss of NHS England said the service can "no longer do everything that is being asked of it" due diminishing funding.

Said Cllr Hodge at Tuesday's cabinet meeting: "The NHS can cope with what it has got.


He continued: "What we have is too many people in hospital. We should help people get out of hospital and back into their homes, which means funding in social care.

"You can report it. If my opinion is different to anyone else, I do not apologise."

In November 2017, NHS England boss Simon Stevens said planned improvements in priority areas such as cancer and mental health care would not materialise due to the lack of funding, reported the British Medical Journal .

He said the NHS "can no longer do everything that is being asked of it" and added the health service's funding increases in 2018/19 will be close to zero. This could turn back a decade of progress, Mr Stevens has claimed.

But the leader of SCC says more funding in social care is the best way of tackling long waiting lists and lack of hospital beds.

Cllr Hodge's statement comes just weeks after two Surrey hospitals declared black alert during what has arguable been the worst winter crisis to hit the NHS.

The proposed budget for 2018/2019 was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday afternoon.

The budget is recommended for approval at a meeting of the full council on February 6 and includes huge cuts to adult social care.

Up to £18.7 million could be slashed from services which support the elderly, people with physical and sensory disabilities, people with learning disabilities and those with mental health challenges.

According to the proposed budget, the total number of people receiving funded care has risen by 23% from 2011.

Source: GetSurvey