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NHS coalition makes ‘desperate plea’ to Prime Minister for sustainable social care system

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Caption: Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which leads the Health for Care coalition

Organisations from across the NHS have formed a new coalition to make a case for a sustainable, long-term settlement for social care.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Health for Care accused the government of “failing to grasp the crisis in social care”, which has left 1.4 million older people in England without the care and support they need.

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The coalition, made up of 15 NHS organisations, urged Theresa May to create a funding settlement, which puts social care on to a sustainable path for the longer term, as well as addressing immediate needs from April 2020.

It is unusual for one part of the public sector to argue for more funding for another part, Health for Care said, but the NHS is “increasingly dependent on social care” and this move is a sign of “frustration and desperation” within the health sector, the coalition argued.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which leads the Health for Care coalition, said: “Everyone’s mind is elsewhere just now, but this is a national scandal and a national disgrace. Record numbers of older people are being left to struggle each day without the care and support they need. It leads to a grossly inefficient system – the cost of doing nothing is great and the personal impact on individuals and their families can be devastating.

“Finding a sustainable solution is among the greatest challenges we face. Successive governments have failed to deal with this, but we have reached a point where we cannot go like this – time is running out.

“Our goal should be to deliver a settlement for social care in England that will last for generations. The promised Green Paper and autumn spending review present an essential opportunity to invest in social care over the longer term, as the Government is now investing in the NHS. Whatever proposals are included in the green paper, they must address the central issue of widening eligibility.” 

The letter from the Health for Care coalition comes weeks ahead of the expected publication of the Government’s Green Paper which will outline options for how care and support services will be funded and provided to disabled adults and older people in England.

To inform the Government’s Green Paper, Health for Care has developed a set of principles to underpin a sustainable social care system, together with three recommendations to the Prime Minister that it believes are critical to achieving a long-term settlement:

  • Eligibility should be based on need and must be widened to make sure that those with unmet or under-met need have access to appropriate care and support.
  • Any new settlement should provide secure, long-term, funding at a level to enable the social care system to operate effectively and deliver the outcomes that people want and need, and,
  • Any significant additional funds must come with a willingness to reform and improve the ways in which care is delivered. Social care services and the NHS are working together to transform and integrate local care services, but they can only go so far when services are being placed under so much strain.

Tags : Health for Carenhs confederationsocial careTheresa May
Sarah Clarke

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