by Medindia Content Team on  July 26, 2006 at 4:13 AM Hospital News
Vulnerable Suffer As NHS Budgets
Elderly and sick people needing home care are suffering due to cuts in NHS expenditure, as councils struggle to deal with the situation, a study says.

The study, which has been commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), discovered that almost seven out of 10 local authorities, in areas with a NHS deficit, have suffered.

Cost-cutting measures of the NHS, such as stepping back from jointly- funded projects and referring patients to other services has pressurized the councils tremendously.

Local authorities, in turn, are taking more time to carry out social care assessments, withdrawing services from people with low level needs and drawing on the budget reserves, to counter the situation.

Social care spokesman for the LGA, Councilor David Rogers said that the NHS and councils should co- ordinate to prevent compromise on services. 'Health and social care are two sides of the same coin, it is impossible not to cut services on one side without hurting the other,' he said.

'Local authorities are leading the way in making efficiency savings. But the increasing numbers of people in need of care, and these latest financial pressures, are forcing many to cut services or increase council tax. In some cases they are having to do both,' he added.

A survey revealed that most council leaders are angry about the cost shunting actions of the NHS. Some are resorting to taking legal action against the health service over the non-payment of bills.

Chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Dr Gill Morgan said that the deficits only affected a small number of trusts. 'The vast majority of NHS organizations are delivering excellent patient care within budget,' she said.

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