The Government’s 7 Key Principles that will guide the Social Care Green Paper
Later this year the Government will publish a Green Paper on Social Care. This comes at a very challenging time for the industry. The Care Quality Commission has highlighted severe challenges in the last two ‘State of Care’ reports with funding and provider failures. In the age of integrated health and care, the NHS fairs arguably worse. The performance against the ‘4 hour target’ in accident and emergency is rarely achieved and this overworked department is often taking away key staff that affects planned operations and outpatient services.
So against this background, the Government have released the principles that will underpin the thinking on reform:
- Whole-person integrated care
- Respect and nurture the workforce
- Supporting families and carers
- Sustainable funding
- Security for all
That you would expect quality from your care is a given and this is going to be driven forward in much the same way that it is now – through regulation and inspection.
Jeremy Hunt has announced more pilots around joint health and social care assessment. The policy is welcome and makes sense in principle, but some critics say that in practice the additional funds can be diverted (The Kings Fund, for example, found that monies were used to reduce hospital debt).
Furthering the personalisation agenda. The Government quote that only 1 in 6 older people take their support as a direct payment and they want to ‘turbo charge’ this by making it ‘the norm and not the exception’.
There will be a 10 year workforce strategy for the NHS and social care. This is designed to improve retention, recruitment and opportunity.
Supporting Families and Carers
The Government states that they will make carers central to the social care strategy, although there is little substance at the moment about what this will mean. There has been a consultation period and an action plan published ahead of the Green Paper to support carers.
This is the big one. Anyone who knows anything about health and social care knows that the current model is not working and we need innovation and a new funding model for the future. The Government is promising no excuses and a ‘jump-start’ to that debate
Security for All
The Government’s election campaign included an element of risk-pooling for elderly care and this principle is about delivering upon that campaign promise.
The release of the principles has had a mixed reception. Margaret Willcox of ADASS stated “Whilst it’s positive the adult social care green paper will look at the adult social care workforce, we must be clear – the challenges social care teams face are happening to our communities now, and urgent and interim funding is needed to address this shortfall right away.”
Lord Porter of the LGA commented ““The ‘seven pillars’ of the green paper reflect what we have long-called for, however, government should resist the temptation for major system reform,” he said. “Missing is the funding to turn that vision into reality”. “Appropriate funding must be the overriding priority for the green paper and we hope its broad scope will not detract from this focus,”
Vic Rayner, Chief Executive of the National Care Forum responded ““NCF welcomes the ambition and intent contained in yesterday’s speech by Jeremy Hunt. It is crucially important that he has recognised that doing nothing is not an option. Of course, it is vital that future funding solutions are found. The principles outlined by which this should be judged are sound, however, over a sustained period, the sector has heard and engaged with multiple attempts to bring this to bear fruit. It is imperative for everyone using services today, and who will need them in the future that these fine principles gain traction – fast.”