NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has said plans for social care reform need to be in place within a year.
Speaking during the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme yesterday, Sir Simon said the COVID-19 crisis should be a catalyst for reform of the social care system.
Sir Simon said: “If any good is to come from this, we must use this as a moment to resolve once and for all to actually properly resource and reform the way in which social care works in this country.
“The reality is that after at least two decades of talking about it, we do not have a fair and properly resourced adult social care system with a proper set of workforce supports.
“I would hope by the time we are sitting down this time next year on the 73rd birthday of the NHS that we have actually, as a country, been able to decisively answer the question of how are we going to fund and provide high-quality social care for my parents’ generation.”
Sir Simon’s intervention comes after the chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, accused Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock of breaching Parliamentary convention by failing to respond to a report on social care reform.
The report found that an extra £8 billion was needed to fix an “underfunded” social care system in which 1.4 million people aren’t receiving the care they need and the workforce is “underpaid and undervalued”.
Mr Hancock warned last month that social care reform could be further delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
ICG Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “We applaud Sir Simon’s call for a social care plan, but ask: why wait for a year? What we need is a plan set out and delivered within a year.
“The sector is in crisis now and has been for some time. We need to see a firm date and the government held accountable for keeping to that date. ”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We know there’s a need for a long-term solution for social care and there are complex questions to address.
“We will bring forward a plan that puts social care on a sustainable footing to ensure the reforms will last long into the future.”