05 APR 2018
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about social care.
There was a very welcome confirmation from the PM at the Liaison Committee hearing that she will bring forward a new long term plan and uplift in long term financial settlement for the NHS in advance of next spending review, saying the service can't afford to wait until next Easter.
Focus will now be on how much extra funding will be available for the NHS, when it will arrive and how it will be phased. If social care remains separate, questions remain on how consensus will be built with public and across Parliament on agreeing how funds will be raised and from whom?
A long term plan will build on the #5YFV but there is no explicit commitment to making this cover social care and public health in a whole system review. Nonetheless, I was glad to hear recognition of the case for considering young adults' social care alongside social care for older adults.
I hope the following information on this topic from the Department of Health and Social Care is reassuring:
We must all receive dignified care in old age. With an ageing population, this is one of the biggest challenges our country faces.
The Government recognises the current pressures facing local areas. Since 2015 local authorities have had greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money as well as retain savings from the New Homes Bonus, totalling £240 million.
In 2017, the Chancellor committed an additional £2 billion to councils in England over three years to spend on adult social care services. £1 billion was provided in 2017-18, for immediate action. Councils will have access in total to £9.25 billion more dedicated funding for social care over the three years from 2015, and this has been further supported by an additional £150 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government this year. The Autumn Budget provides £42 million additional funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant in 2017-18, to support people with disabilities stay in their own homes throughout their care. This investment is central to the Government's efforts to reduce delayed transfers of care from the NHS to social care, and free up thousands of hospital beds.
Money alone will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. Some councils already provide high quality social care within their existing budgets; and, half of all delayed discharges from hospital to home arise in just 24 local authorities. It is vital for us to consider ways of better joining up health and care services, and I am encouraged by the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated health and care services.
The Government is currently producing a Green Paper, which will establish a new social care policy for the future. This will see a care policy which will meet the challenges of an ageing population, and will grapple with how to properly integrate health and social care, and make sure social care is financially sustainable. There have been many consultations into care policy over the years; however the upcoming Green Paper will usher in a real cultural change into how we care for the elderly and vulnerable.
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