Councils and the NHS will share a £70m cashpot to support reablement services for patients leaving hospital, health secretary Andrew Lansley has announced.
Addressing the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Mr Lansley said the cash would provide enough funding to support some 35,000 patients over the next seven months.
Directors of adult social services said the move was a good first step towards increasing preventative services for the coalition government.
Richard Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said Mr Lansley’s announcement was “an encouraging first step” that could be put in place quickly and carefully to spare the NHS from “unnecessary and disruptive” readmissions.
“It is good news, and we see it as confirming our view that only by tighter integration of health and social care services in the community will real savings, and real improvements in services, be made,” he said.
Mr Jones said councils already made a significant investment into reablement services and that the new money was needed so that existing services could be improved to support people in returning home and to prevent the need for readmission into hospital or residential and nursing care.
“The resource, and the requirement to agree joint plans for its use, signal an important step on the necessary journey to further integration,” he said.