The Social Care Green Paper is unlikely to ever see the light of day as it requires a government with a majority and long-term prospects to tackle one of the most difficult public policy questions we face, a former health secretary has said.
Speaking at the LaingBuisson Social Conference conference in London yesterday, Stephen Dorrell, who served as health secretary in the 1990s, said the question of how we pay for joined up public services has defeated every government over the last 25 years and it is therefore improbable that it will be addressed while the current government is still in office.
He said: “The Blair government when it came into office and published a report in 1999 and precious little happened; Andy Burnham, the then Secretary of State published an approach to a national care service in 2009 and precious little happened; the incoming government in 2010 asked Andrew Dilnot to produce a report, and while it’s not quite true to say precious little happened, they legislated it in the Care Act of 2014, won a general election in 2015 and promptly shelved it.”
Dorrell, who is also chairman of LaingBuisson, a healthcare consultant and market intelligence provider, argued that politicians must recognise that there is a requirement to re-embed the NHS in the full range of public services, including social care, education and housing, to meet rising demand, but in order to do that, they must address the “profoundly difficult question” of how you pay for those joined-up services.
“It has to be addressed, but it will require a government with a secure majority, genuine authority and with the brain space to address one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult public policy questions we face,” he said.
Photo credit: LaingBuisson.