Social care leaders have repeated their calls for the publication of the Social Care Green Paper after the Government yesterday shared its 10-year plan for the NHS.
While welcoming The NHS Long Term Plan, which puts the flesh on the bones of the Government’s £20bn funding announcement for the NHS last year, leaders highlighted the urgent need for parallel support for the social care sector.
The NHS plan, which has been developed in partnership with health and care staff, patients and their families, includes supporting older people through more personalised care and stronger community and primary services.
Martin Green, CEO of Care England, told CHP: “We welcome the recognition that the NHS should offer better support to people living in care homes. As long ago as 2008, Care England identified the difficulties of getting appropriate NHS support for people living in care homes in its report, ‘Can We Afford the Doctor’.”
Martin stressed the additional need for a move towards a fully integrated health and social care system.
“Care England is committed to working with the Government on a long-term strategy for the NHS, and a long-term strategy for social care,” he added.
Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO (the Associated Retirement Community Operators), urged for a greater focus on care settings, such as retirement communities, which keep people healthier for longer.
“Improving the planning, funding and legislative treatment for the sector would help unlock £40bn of investment over the next twelve years – twice the amount of funding being dedicated to this plan,” Michael said.
“We look forward to working with NHS England and the government to this end.”
Several leaders expressed their disappointment that the NHS Plan had not been accompanied by the Social Care Green Paper.
Melanie Weatherley, Chair of the Lincolnshire Care Association and CEO of Walnut Care, said: “Deep-rooted issues in the health and social care sector are interlinked. The launch of this plan highlights the need for the Government to finally publish its Social Care Green Paper. Social care needs to be robust and sustainable for us to support the NHS to achieve the goals within the plan.”
John Woodward OBE, President and co-founder of Busy Bees, the UK’s largest childcare provider, said the Social Care Green Paper had been “silently swept under the rug”.
“The health service cannot work for everyone until social care is properly funded and fit for purpose, and I hope the government recognises this sooner rather than later,” John said.
Cllr David Williams, health and social care spokesman for the County Councils Network, and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Health and social care are two sides of the same coin and funding one without the other simply creates a false economy, especially when considering the preventative focus of today’s proposals. A fully-funded high quality social care system is required to ensure support for people outside of acute healthcare and to prevent hospital admissions.”
Nadra Ahmed, Executive Chairman of the National Care Association, added: “The irony is the talk of integration ignores the fact that one is a plan and the other not even at the consultation stage.
“The plan as it stands says all the right things so we will have to wait to ensure how the integration with the long awaited Green Paper will actually transpire.”
Dr Tony Romero, CEO of Cygnet Health Care, and Richard Coe, Project Director at Kajima, meanwhile, welcomed the NHS Plan’s extra £2.3bn for mental health services.