More than £6.9 billion has been committed to the Better Care Fund (BCF) this year to help drive integration between the health and social care system.
Introduced in 2015, the BCF has been used to help people to stay at home and live independently as far as possible, to minimise the time spent in hospital, and to help them recover after they leave hospital by enabling access to care and support services if needed.
The funding for 2021/22 includes £4.3 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.
The government said the funding would drive health and social care integration and support local recovery from the pandemic.
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 to 2021 levels. This was confirmed in the 2020 Spending Review.
A BCF Policy Framework has also now been published for 2021-22, 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 policy framework, the national conditions for the BCF in 2021 to 2022 are: a jointly agreed plan between local health and social care commissioners, signed off by the health and wellbeing board; NHS contribution to adult social care to be maintained in line with the uplift to CCG minimum contribution; invest in NHS-commissioned out-of-hospital services; a plan for improving outcomes for people being discharged from hospital.