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Ministers to take greater control of social care provision amid radical shake-up of NHS

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Government ministers will be given enhanced powers to intervene in the provision of social care, according to a leaked document.

Draft proposals for a Health and Care Bill, first seen by Health Policy Insight, reveal that ministers plan to introduce a new duty for the the Care Quality Commission to assess local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties, alongside powers for the Secretary of State of Health and Social Care to intervene where there is a risk of failure to meet these duties.

The legislation would also give power to the Secretary of State to make payments directly to providers.

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“The Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the need for speed and flexibility in providing support to the social care sector. Coronavirus has also clearly demonstrated how unforeseen and quickly changing circumstances can require fast and innovative intervention, and we need to be prepared to meet any need of the sector in the future,” the leaked document said.

“We are therefore legislating to amend the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to expand the powers of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which currently allows the Secretary of State to provide financial assistance to not-for-profit bodies engaged in the provision of health or social care services in England. The Bill will widen this to allow financial assistance to be given to any bodies which are engaged in the provision of social care services in England.”

The proposed legislation would allow the Secretary of State to collect data from local authorities and providers, including that on self-funders, fee rates, hours of care and their cost per person, plus data on financial flows.

The government also plans to bring forward measures to help facilitate smooth hospital discharge, by putting in place a legal framework for a ‘Discharge to Assess’ model, whereby CHC and Care Act assessments can take place after an individual has been discharged from acute care. 

The plans, which do not include plans for wider social care reform due separately this year, outline proposals for health care reform that could have potentially far-ranging effects, if implemented.

These include laws to block the closure of hospitals, powers to put fluoride in water and impose health warnings on sausages to prevent obesity.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaks.”

Tags : LegislationMatt Hancocksocial care reformwhite paper
Sarah Clarke

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