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Hancock announces £240m funding ahead of social care green paper

Matt Hancock has announced a £240m fund to help free beds

Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care secretary, is set to announce a £240m funding package to be injected into social care in a bid to free up beds this winter.

In the secretary’s speech at the Conservative Party conference, Mr Hancock will say the new funding will be spent on prevention and getting people home swiftly in order to free up beds across UK hospitals.

The bed occupancy rate reached an astonishing 94.4% last winter, with many trusts have an average of 99% occupancy every day which is well above the recommended levels.

A £1bn social care funding gap was identified dating as far back as 2016 and the lack of funding has put pressure on care services and hospitals.

A snippet of Mr Hancock’s speech appeared in the national press. He said: “I want to help the NHS through this winter, too. I have already provided funding for hospitals to make upgrades to their buildings to deal with pressures this winter. I can announce today I am making an extra £240m available to pay for social care packages this winter to support our NHS.

“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.”

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the funding will be welcomed by trusts and is exactly what NHS Providers called for last month.

“Delays in transferring patients to care outside of hospital have been a focal point of winter pressure on the health system. These waits are not good for patients, families or NHS staff working under pressure.

“Trusts and local authorities have worked incredibly hard over the year to reduce these delays.

“But after a difficult summer of record-breaking demand, trusts are not in the position they would want to be in heading into winter.

“For the long term the government’s forthcoming green paper must propose bold action to put social care on the sustainable footing it so desperately needs,” Mr Hopson said.

The social care green paper is due this Autumn.

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