Former Secretary of State for Health Stephen Dorrell has said greater health and social integration in the UK is the “only show in town”.
The former minister’s comments during LaingBuisson’s investing In Healthcare conference followed a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) which concluded that the Better Care Fund had failed to deliver on its promise of easing pressure on the NHS (see Better Care Fund failing to relieve NHS pressures, warns NAO).
Mr Dorrell said: “We should not reject the policy objective that lies behind the Better Care Fund – to intervene and prevent unnecessary episodes of care.”
The former minister cited evidence from the NAO that 30% of hospital beds are occupied by people who would not be in hospital if proper community support was provided.
“The commitment to joining the health service to other public services including social care is not a passing fad,” Mr Dorrell argued. “There is no other show in town.
“You can’t deliver value and good quality care to citizens if you believe that health and social care are separate silos.”
Mr Dorrell added that the UK would have to think about new funding models for social care.
Institute for Fiscal Studies data shows that spending per head on core services in the UK will have declined by 13% in real terms between the beginning of the financial crash and 2020.
“We have to think of new ways of channelling resources into the sector,” Mr Dorrell said.