Social care leaders have repeated their calls for the publication of the Social Care Green Paper after the Government shared its 10-year plan for the NHS on Monday.
While welcoming The NHS Long Term Plan, which aims to save 500,000 lives with a more strategic focus on prevention and early detection, leaders highlighted the urgent need for funding and access to skilled professionals in the social care sector.
Dementia UK said the plan was a “step in the right direction” but suggested “in order to put weight behind these proposals” there needed to be “a serious commitment to providing more access to skilled professionals, such as dementia specialist Admiral Nurses.”
“The long-awaited adult social care Green Paper represents the missing puzzle piece in this area. It is all well and good to focus on preventing conditions like dementia but we need to give due regard to people who are facing health challenges in the here and now,” the organisation stressed.
“This is where social care comes in to help people through community support and timely help in the home. Allowing more access to funding for social care will undoubtedly help to relieve the pressures on a struggling NHS, ultimately leading to a more joined-up health and social care landscape.”
Other sector leaders expressed their disappointment that the NHS Plan had not been accompanied by the Social Care Green Paper, which has been delayed several times by the Government.
The green paper was due to set out ideas for the long-awaited reform of care and support of older people in England.
Melanie Weatherley, Chair of the Lincolnshire Care Association and CEO of Walnut Care, said: “Deep-rooted issues in the health and social care sector are interlinked. The launch of this plan highlights the need for the Government to finally publish its Social Care Green Paper. Social care needs to be robust and sustainable for us to support the NHS to achieve the goals within the plan.”
John Woodward OBE, President and co-founder of Busy Bees, the UK’s largest childcare provider, said the Social Care Green Paper had been “silently swept under the rug”.
“The health service cannot work for everyone until social care is properly funded and fit for purpose, and I hope the government recognises this sooner rather than later,” he added.
Cllr David Williams, health and social care spokesman for the County Councils Network, and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Health and social care are two sides of the same coin and funding one without the other simply creates a false economy, especially when considering the preventative focus of today’s proposals. A fully-funded high quality social care system is required to ensure support for people outside of acute healthcare and to prevent hospital admissions.”
Nadra Ahmed, executive chairman of the National Care Association, said: “The irony is the talk of integration ignores the fact that one is a plan and the other not even at the consultation stage.
“The plan as it stands says all the right things so we will have to wait to ensure how the integration with the long awaited Green Paper will actually transpire.”