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Conservative conference: Emergency £240m to free up hospital beds

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An emergency £240m will be pumped into social care in England to ease pressure on the NHS this winter by enabling more elderly people to be cared for at home.

The cash will help councils pay for measures like housing adaptations and care packages, Health Secretary Matt Hancock will tell the Tory conference.

Getting people back home will “free up hospital beds”, Mr Hancock will say.

Winter months often place hospitals under strain. In January, one in five patients faced long delays for a bed.

The number of seriously ill patients facing delays for a bed reached record highs, with 1,000 waiting more than 12 hours, according to NHS England figures.

This was despite a mass cancellation of routine treatments designed to ease pressure.

Labour has accused the government of causing a “crisis” in the NHS and social care system by repeatedly cutting budgets.

Mr Hancock, who was given responsibility for health and social care in July, will set out the additional funding as the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham enters its third day.

The money, to be channelled through local authorities according to their relative adult social care needs, could buy 71,500 domestic care packages or 86,500 “reablement” packages, he will suggest.

“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.

“And help people who really need it get the hospital care they need.”

Elsewhere at the conference, Home Secretary Sajid Javid will announce a range of measures to tackle violent crime, including a review of drug buyers and sellers.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is also expected to appear at a fringe event.

Conservative conference: Emergency £240m to free up hospital beds

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