Lack of clarity on social care reform in Queen’s Speech
By Integrated Care Journal-
Rt Hon Damian Green, Chair of PPP's State of the Nation The Social Care Challenge: Implementing a Connected System report, responds to the lack of clarity on social care reform in the Queen's Speech.
Many people have been disappointed that the Queen’s Speech did not include a detailed solution to the long-standing problem of social care. It is absolutely imperative that we see one with the Comprehensive Spending Review later this year. This is why PPP has started an investigation into the subject, leading to a report to be published this July.
There are many problems to be solved but as ever how we pay for the necessary reforms lies at the heart of the issue. We need billions more a year, and how you raise that money is the most intractable problem. A cap on costs, a floor below which personal assets should not be touched, increases in national insurance, and a pension-style guided saving scheme have all been mooted.
But even when the Government comes to decision on how to find the extra money needed, there are other intractable problems. These include:
- Workforce planning. How do we find thousands of extra workers, which demographic change will demand, and how do we create a proper pay and career structure for them?
- Technology. There is so much available which would improve the daily lives of those receiving care, but no discernible strategy for using it.
- Housing. If we built differently, we could keep far more people in their own homes for longer, happier in themselves and less expensive for the system. There is a clear need in the planning system for a separate category of homes suitable for people who need support.
- Integration with the NHS. This is the latest issue following the Government’s White Paper on the subject. We are promised new Integrated Care Systems, but they must ensure that they are not simply another way of the NHS using social care to solve its own problems. The voice of social care (especially domiciliary care) is fragmented, and therefore hard to hear. Providers must have a seat at the ICS table as well as local government if we are to achieve anything real.
This is a formidable set of challenges. I have argued that Social Care needs a 10-year Plan to go alongside the excellent NHS 10-year plan. This absolutely must be the year for action on social care, and I hope our report contributes to a sensible and sustainable solution.
For more information on PPP's State of the Nation report on social care, please contact Charley Hacquoil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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