Over £6.9 billion has been committed to the fund to help people in England stay and home and live independently, and to help local recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

Indepndent elderly

The Better Care Fund (BCF) in England has been increased this year in an effort to continue driving integration between the health and social care system and support local recovery from the pandemic, the DHSC has announced.

Over £6.9 billion has been committed to helping people to stay at home and live independently as far as possible, to minimise their time spent in hospital, and to help them recover after they leave hospital by enabling access to care and support services if needed.

The BCF will be a minimum of £6.9 billion in 2021–2022, including £4.3 billion of NHS funding and £2.1 billion from the improved Better Care Fund (IBCF) grant to local authorities, and £573 million from the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).

The NHS contribution to the BCF is increasing by 5.3% in line with the NHS Long Term Plan settlement, and the IBCF and DFG are being maintained at their 2020–2021 levels.

The BCF Policy Framework has now been published for 2021–2022, which aims to build on progress during the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening the integration of commissioning and delivery of services and delivering person-centred care.

According to the DHSC, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how joint approaches to the wellbeing of people—between health, social care, and the wider public sector—can be effective even in the most difficult circumstances. Placing integrated care systems on a statutory footing embeds more power and autonomy in the hands of local systems to deliver seamless health and social care services, says the health department.

The BCF was started in 2015 to join up the NHS, social care, and housing services so older people and those with complex needs can manage their own health and wellbeing and live independently in their communities for as long as possible.