The government has committed a minimum of £7.2 billion to the Better Care Fund (BCF), which will support the joining up of health, social care and housing services to help older people and those with complex needs and disabilities to live at home for longer.

The package was announced in the Better Care Fund framework report (2022-23), published today, and will fund things like adaptations to homes for disabled people and rehabilitating people back into their communities after a spell in hospital.

What is the Better Care Fund?

The BCF programme supports local systems to successfully deliver the integration of health and social care in a way that supports person-centred care, sustainability and better outcomes for people and carers.

The initiative encourages integration of health and social care by requiring clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities to enter into pooled budget arrangements and agree an integrated spending plan.

This year, the BCF includes £4.5 billion of NHS funding, £2.1 billion from the improved Better Care Fund (iBCF) grant to local authorities and £573 million from the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).

Staying well, safe and independent at home for longer

The BCF framework will continue to build on initiatives developed during the pandemic, strengthening the integration of commissioning and delivery of services and providing person-centred care, as well as continuing to support system recovery from the pandemic.

It will ask authorities to meet two overarching objectives reflecting the priorities for health and social care integration. These are: enabling people to stay well, safe and independent at home for longer and providing the right care in the right place at the right time.

To help the system prepare for winter, councils will be asked to develop capacity and demand plans for intermediate care. This will cover both admissions avoidance and hospital discharge across health and social care.

Local authorities will be asked to develop capacity and demand plans

During 2022/23, the NHS contribution to the BCF is increasing by 5.66% in line with the NHS Long Term Plan settlement, the Improved Better Care Fund is increasing by 3% and the Disabled Facilities Grant is being maintained at £573 million.

The Better Care Fund was launched in 2015 to join up the NHS, social care and housing services. Since then, the BCF has included a condition that a minimum amount of the NHS contribution is used to fund social care services that have a health benefit.

This minimum now sits at almost £2 billion, and will protect vital social care services that help people to remain independent or recover following a spell in hospital.