The Government has announced that £39 billion from the Health and Social Care Levy will be raised over the next three years to help build a more sustainable health and care sector and address the waiting lists caused by the pandemic.[i]
What does this mean for health care?
The pressures of the pandemic have meant that the NHS has a backlog of around six million people waiting for treatment.
As of 6 April 2022, the additional funding from a National Insurance Contribution increase of 1.25 per cent aims to help the NHS and the social care sector to reduce waiting times.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid commented: “The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on the NHS and is causing the Covid backlogs. This investment will go into tackling those backlogs and will help make sure everyone can get the care and treatment they need.”
As part of the Government’s initiative, it is also using the funding to help deliver more tests and scans with additional diagnostics and technology. In addition, it will help expand capacity within operating theatres and diagnostic centres with 30 per cent more elective activity in the first three years.
What does this mean for social care?
The Health and Social Care Levy is also designed to reduce the inequality between those privately funding and those supported by local authorities. And as part of the plans, costs will be capped at £86,000 from October 2023 and will be measured with local variations in mind, as care costs differ depending on location.
Demand for adult social care has been steadily increasing. According to The King’s Fund, requests for social care services from working-age adults increased from 560,000 in 2019/20 to 578,000 in 2020/21.[ii] With this growing need for more support in social care, having a fairer cost structure could greatly improve the prospect for those using the service.
Sajid Javid has also commented: “The Health and Social Care Levy will help fund reforms to social care and the NHS – ensuring everyone who needs support is cared for in the right place at the right time.” [iii]