Social care leaders have welcomed a new proposals to put integrated care systems on a statutory footing.
The measures, set out yesterday in a government white paper, include plans to make integrated care the “default”, reduce legal bureaucracy and better support social care.
A Bill will be laid in Parliament to carry the proposals into law.
ADASS president James Bullion said: “We welcome the white paper, which includes important measures to strengthen assurance within adult social care and to place integrated care on a more permanent footing, with a clear role for local authorities and a cementing of the working relationships among adult social care, NHS community services, mental health and primary care that have been such a positive feature of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In ADASS’ nine statements to help shape adult social care reform, the organisation has called for better integrated working so that people can benefit from more joined-up support.
“Publication of this white paper should be seen as the first step in an important journey over the coming months that will help shape all of our futures. We note that the white paper reaffirms that proposals to reform social care will be published later this year. These must incorporate all outstanding issues, including a workforce plan to put social care staff on an equal footing with workers in the NHS, greatly improved support for family carers and a commitment to long-term funding to develop the kind of care and support that will enable us all to live the lives we want in the place we want to be.”
Learning disability charity VODG said it supports the policy focus for more integrated health and social care services, but approaches today’s white paper with a degree of caution.
Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of VODG, said: “On the back of NHS’ proposals to reorganise itself better and the expansion of Integrated Care Systems, the content of the White Paper is heavily focused on systems, frameworks, and legislation, when what we need is to put people at the heart of a Health and Care Bill and for person-centred policies to be front and centre of proposals.
“Furthermore, according to today’s White Paper, separate proposals for social care reform will be announced later this year – a further delay to already long-awaited and overdue promises of reform.
“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shown us that the impact of a poorly organised health and social care system is felt most by people who draw upon social care services and community support to live the lives they choose. To genuinely learn from such lessons as well as prepare for the recovery of our health and care system, reform must truly embrace the support that people need to live fulfilling and independent lives and the breadth of organisations providing this support.”
Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth said: “The government’s Health and Care White Paper sets out their proposals for greater integration of social care and health services. We look forward to working with partners in the sector, people who access care and support, NHS and government on the detail to make sure all adult social care employers and the 1.6 million strong workforce can fully play their part.”
Kathryn Smith, CEO of Social Care Institute for Excellence, said the white paper proposals are welcome as they aim to assure the public that social care is “fit for purpose”.
She added: “We particularly support the need for stronger partnerships at the local level to drive improvements in health and care, with local government, other organisations and citizens as equal partners in decision making. We are often told that the further you are away from decision making the more powerless you can be as people and communities. These proposals should provide a good opportunity to tackle that issue; and we are also ready to support proposals to reintroduce a form of assessment of local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties.”