In a speech at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services spring conference, the health secretary announced plans to bring forward proposals to reform and fix social care.
This comes after the Department of Health and Social Care published its health and care white paper setting out plans to merge the NHS and social care as part of an integrated care system that is said would be less bureaucratic.
Matt Hancock said: ‘In our manifesto, we made a clear commitment to set out the reforms that are needed for the long-term future of social care and to fix a system that has been unreformed for far too long.
‘We’ve already published our Health and Care white paper, and I’m very grateful for the engagement we’ve had with ADASS so far.
‘It shows how we’ll improve oversight of how social care is commissioned and delivered.
‘How we’ll get better data, which has been one of the huge strides forward during the pandemic. But we need to make sure that is embedded so that we have better data about what is happening at a local level.
‘And improving how we can make health and care even more integrated between the national and local level and between the NHS and social care through integrated care systems.
‘This white paper is incredibly important, and I am very grateful for your support.
‘But this is just a fraction of our plans.
‘In our manifesto, we made a clear commitment to set out the reforms that are needed for the long-term future of social care and to fix a system that has been unreformed for far too long.
‘Our shared experience of the past year shows that these reforms are more important than they’ve ever been, and we’ll be bringing forward our proposals later this year.
‘Caring for others, in my view, is one of the most noble vocations of all.
‘And during this pandemic, the work you’ve done has protected so many people who’ve been at greatest risk from this deadly disease.
‘You have my word that we will back you throughout the rest of this pandemic and we’ll make the reforms that are needed to put social care on a firm footing for the years to come.’
However, UNISON senior national officer for social care Gavin Edwards has warned that all parts of the government must back the long-term reform of the sector to create a world-class social care service that is equal in excellence to the NHS.
‘There’s been no shortage of promises on social care in recent years, but the government has never delivered. Everyone depending on or delivering social care is tired of empty words and broken pledges.
‘The care sector and the vulnerable people it supports desperately need a world class service. This should be equal in excellence to the NHS – tinkering with a broken system won’t do.
‘All parts of government including the treasury must back long-term reform and funding. Serious investment and radical proposals will drive up standards and ensure care workers are treated and paid fairly.’
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