Back in October, we saw Chancellor Philip Hammond present the 2018 budget update to an eagerly awaiting crowd at the House of Commons. The budget outlined the government’s plans for tax and spending for the financial year which starts in April 2019.Following the announcement, we have looked into exactly what is in store for the care sector moving forwards, including:

  • NHS funding
  • Mental health services
  • Social care provisions

NHS funding.

In his budget announcement, the Chancellor re-stated the government’s commitment to a multi-year funding settlement over the next five years, amounting to £20.5 billion extra for NHS England by 2023/24. This deal applies to the budget for NHS England only, and not the budget of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Due to inflation, it is thought that the annual increases of funding for the NHS will actually be less than 3.4% per year. However, the government will confirm with final settlement by the 2019 spending review, which should be consistent with the £20.5 billion real-term increase.

Mental health.

Of the above £20.5 billion, the Chancellor announced that £250 million of this will be put into new crisis services by 2023/24, which will include:

  • Mental health support in every major A&E department
  • An increase in mental health specialist ambulances 
  • A 24/7 mental health crisis service, available via NHS 111
  • Creation of children and young people’s crisis teams across the country
  • Increasing community services, such as crisis cafes 

There will also be additional support available for both children and adults who are suffering with their mental health. For children, there will be extra mental health support schemes in schools, and 55,000 adults with severe mental ill health will be provided with help by the health service to secure employment, through a work placement and support scheme.

Social care provisions.

The budget has outlined that an additional £240 million in 2018-19 and £240 million in 2019-20 will be provided for adult social care. Hopefully, this will make sure than people are able to leave hospital at the time that they are ready to and free up NHS beds, and move into an appropriate care setting if necessary. For children’s social care, the budget provides £84 million over five years for up to 20 local authorities, to help more children to stay at home safely with their families

Alongside the above funds, Hammond also announced that a further £410 million in additional social care funds will be available in 2019-20. This cash will be available to local councils to ensure that social care pressures are not putting unnecessary strain on the NHS, and is to cover for children, adults, older people and people with disabilities. There will also be £55 million in 2018-19 for the Disabled Facilities Grant, which is aimed to provide home aids and adaptations for disabled children and adults on low incomes.

Staff wages.

It was also stated that changes to income tax thresholds will come a year earlier than planned: the rate at which people will start paying income tax at 20% will rise from £11,850 to £12,500 in April, and at 40% from £46,350 to £50,000. This should provide a welcome boost to health and social care staff across the UK.

Overall, the budget for the care sector reflects the growing concern from employers and staff members alike across the UK about mental health: with one in four people being affected by it on a daily basis, it is no wonder that it remains high on the government’s agenda. In addition, the additional funding being provided to both the NHS and social care services will be key in ensuring that people across the UK receive the high level of care that they deserve.

When you work with us at Randstad, we understand the importance of cost-effective recruitment. That’s why we not only provide you with care workers who are committed to providing the highest level of care possible, but we can also advise you on making hiring decisions that work with your service’s budget. Get in touch for a confidential discussion with one of our specialist consultants today.