Today, the Prime Minister gave a statement outlining the Government’s plans to reform social care.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGIU said:
“Today’s announcements on care need to be seen as the beginning of a conversation.
There will be a lot of emphasis on the money: should it come from NICS, is it enough, how much will end up in care rather than health? All important questions but we also need to think about how we make that money work.
Many of the challenges we have worked on over the last ten years still need to be addressed.
First of all, we must consider how care is actually delivered. We need a shift towards outcomes-based commissioning. Everyone agrees that this is essential for the future but still the majority of care is commissioned on a task and time basis.
Local authorities will also need to be given the freedom, flexibility and funding to first shore up and then drive innovation in the care market.
Secondly, we need to urgently improve the lot of the care workforce. Care is only as good as the people who deliver it. Care workers are some of the unsung heroes of our society but too often they are badly paid and working on precarious contracts. We need to improve their conditions while building career pathways and esteem. They should not be the poor relations to clinical staff.
Thirdly, we need to think about personal finance. Changes announced today (essentially Dilnot ten years on) should give people more certainty and enable the growth of care finance markets but individuals will still have to plan for care costs and councils have a role in signposting effective advice.
Finally, we should be clear about where care sits in the system. Everyone agrees that health and care need to be integrated but there is a growing argument that this should mean rolling care into the NHS. But we also need a shift to prevention and that in turn means care needs to be integrated, not just with health, but with housing, planning, leisure and a whole raft of local services. And we need proper governance and accountability, so care must stay local.
More money is essential but unless we now move forward on these questions, it won’t achieve as much as it should.”
Read our blog on the Prime Minister’s announcements here and check out our briefings covering health and social care here.