CEO of Care England, Professor Martin Green OBE, has warned providers not to pin their hopes on the government publishing reform proposals this year and urged them to take matters into their own hands.
Speaking at the Future of Care conference in London this week, Martin called for a “new vision for social care”, but said he didn’t expect the government to deliver it.
“I don’t think the Department of Health and Social Care has a proper vision for social care and I see little evidence that the department has moved on from being what it always was, which is the Department for the NHS.
“What we really need is a vision, but don’t hold your breath. I’ve been in this game for a long time and I’ve not got very high expectations for [the department], so that’s why we need to lead this vision.
“We’ve been through a war on COVID, but we must not let our guard down because our future has got to be redefined.”
Martin also expressed concerns that the debate around social care reform was “too narrow” and primarily focused on funding.
“I do not want us to talk about the funding package until we are absolutely clear about what we are going to fund and why it’s important,” he said.
“In conversations in the past, we have always talked about the money, but we haven’t connected with what the outcomes are and why this is so important to citizens who receive support, as well as their families and communities.”
The CEO said a new vision must focus on reconnecting with people who use services and asking them what makes a difference to their lives.
“Instead of talking about a range of services, what we’ve got to start saying to people is ‘what can we do to help you live well, despite the fact that you may have a range of social care or medical needs?” he explained.
“This enables people to have the control of their lives. When we craft a new vision for social care, it needs to be about giving people a life, not a set of services.”