Talking exclusively to CHP, Tony Stein, CEO of Healthcare Management Solutions (HCMS), calls for a National Care Service to sit alongside the NHS with equal status and equal access to resources and shared goals.
So, once again we have a government on the verge of taking resolute action to fix social care once and for all. Heard this before? Only once or twice over the past 20 years …
As an optimist, I’m ever hopeful, however, I suspect that what Boris and the team see as ‘radical’ and reformative will amount to tweaking a system many of us know to be broken beyond repair.
The issue isn’t just the quantum of money that’s pumped into the system. If there’s only one thing that coronavirus has told us it’s that, when the chips really are down, money can be found. Sadly, the real problem is that whilst the budget for acute care (the NHS) and the budget for social care are split between central and local government, UK plc will always end up worse off as bad decisions are made based upon where the responsibility can be pushed rather than on where the most good can be done.
The perfect example is local authorities leaving the elderly in expensive hospital beds rather than care homes, because they can’t afford to take on the responsibility. Another good example is cash-strapped LAs leaving elderly people to struggle at home with a few ‘flying’ visits a day when they really need 24-hour care. One bad fall later and they’re in an expensive NHS bed, immobile and on a rapidly deteriorating slope costing the individuals their independence and the country a fortune in care bills.
We need a National Care Service to sit alongside the NHS with equal status, equal access to resources and shared goals – better outcomes for all. The budget should be fluid – being transferred between the two as need demands.
I fear that what we’ll get is some fluff about how people shouldn’t need to sell their homes etc. A valid point, but frankly that’s just about who pays the bills, it doesn’t really fix much and in fact, by placing a greater strain on the government coffers, may even result in more rationing of services to those in need.
Watch this space.