Reductions in the amount of time people in need of social care spend trapped in hospitals when they are fit to be discharged has saved the NHS millions of pounds, new analysis suggests.
Social care leaders have called for more money to be ploughed into the system in order to make further saving for the health service.
The analysis, by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass), concludes there have been significant reductions in delayed transfers of care - where someone is unnecessarily trapped in a hospital bed when they are medically fit to be discharged - when social services are responsible for the delay.
The organisation estimates that it has saved the NHS almost £60 million in the past year by reducing such hold ups by 41%.
"Our dedicated workforce has done a tremendous job over the last year with limited resources, saving the NHS almost £60 million by keeping people out of hospital," said Adass vice president Julie Ogley.
"This demonstrates the ability of social care to make an impact."
She called on the Government to deliver a long-term funding solution in its forthcoming green paper on adult social care, adding: "In the meantime, however, urgent and immediate funding is needed to help social care keep track with the pressures of an ageing population, and in turn, reduce those pressures on the NHS.
"The best way to help people live as independently as possible, as long as possible, is to provide effective support in the communities in which they live."
Commenting on the analysis, James Jamieson, vice chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "To help councils build on this work and help reduce pressures on the NHS, adult social care needs to be put on an equal footing with the health service.
"Like the 70th birthday funding for the NHS, a similar urgent rescue package is needed for social care and prevention services to ensure taxpayers' money is spent most effectively to reduce the need for people to be admitted to hospital in the first place."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: "We have provided local authorities access to £9.4 billion in dedicated social care funding over three years.
"Health and social care are two sides of the same coin and any reforms must be aligned - that's why our forthcoming green paper will be published in the autumn alongside the NHS plan."
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