Health leaders have called on the government to deliver on its promise to tackle the failures of the social care system ‘once and for all’.
A new report by the Health for Care coalition highlights the important relationship between health and social care.
It argues the NHS relies heavily on its social care colleagues, including in helping to ensure timely hospital discharge to community settings, and in guarding against unplanned emergency admissions.
More crucially, social care provision is an essential ingredient in supporting independence and quality of life for our family members of all ages.
According to the report, there are 1.4 million older people currently estimated to have unmet need for social care, yet without a comprehensive and properly funded long-term plan for the sector, this important infrastructure is jeopardised.
When Boris Johnson took over as prime minister in July 2019, he said pledged to fix the ‘crisis in social care once and for all’.
Speaking earlier this month in front of a group of MPs, Mr Johnson said the government would finally bring forward plans to reform social care ‘later this year’.
‘When Boris Johnson delivered his first speech as Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street eighteen months ago, he promised to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’, but despite decades of delay, the government has not made any visible or tangible progress on this issue,’ said NHS Confederation chief executive, Danny Mortimer.
‘While addressing the immediate Covid emergency has rightly been the government’s top priority, there is a real risk that allowing the current circumstances to excuse further delays to social care reform will mean that an opportunity is missed once again.
‘The NHS and social care are sister services and have been supporting one another and working closely together throughout the pandemic. However, when one service does not work, the other suffers, and the past few months have brutally exposed how fragile and under-resourced England’s social care system has become,’ he added.
‘The government must now deliver legislative proposals to fix social care, once and for all. A well-funded and good quality social care sector is fundamental to a healthy nation and a well-performing NHS. Without social care reform, with a clear and transparent timetable for delivery, backed up by a long-term funding settlement, not only will the NHS and social care continue to run at near breaking point through the pandemic, but they will struggle to address the long-term health and social care issues the crisis leaves in its wake.’
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