Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a 10-year joint NHS and social care workforce strategy as part of a package of reforms.
In his first speech to health and social care workers, Mr Hunt also revealed a £1m pilot in Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire to ensure all service users receive joint and health and social care assessments and care plans.
Mr Hunt said: “Too many people experience care that is not of the quality we would all want for our own mum or dad. […] We need a relentless and unswerving focus on providing the highest standards of care – whatever a person’s age or condition. This means a commitment to tackle poor care with minimum standards enforced throughout the system so that those using social care services are always kept safe and treated with the highest standards of dignity and compassion.
“Resolving this will take time. But that must not be an excuse to put off necessary reforms. Nor must it delay the debate we need to have with the public about where the funding for social care in the future should come from – so the Green Paper will jump-start this vital debate.”
The Health and Social Care Secretary also announced a consultation to extend rights to integrated personal budgets to those with the greatest ongoing social care needs to put more control in the hands of individuals and their families.
The speech outlined seven key principles to social care reform which will be set out in the Green Paper in the summer. They are:
quality and safety embedded in service provision;
whole person, integrated care with the NHS and social care systems operating as one;
the highest possible control given to those receiving support;
a valued workforce;
better practical support for families and carers;
a sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market; and
greater security for all – for those born or developing a care need early in life and for those entering old age who do not know what their future care needs may be.
“Innovation will be central to all of these principles: we will not succeed unless the systems we establish embrace the changes in technology and medicine that are profoundly reshaping our world,” he said.
“By reforming the system in line with these principles everyone – whatever their age – can be confident in our care and support system. Confident that they will be in control, confident that they will have quality care and confident that wider society will support them.”