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Health and social care not "fit for purpose" report claims

Health and social care not "fit for purpose" report claims


England should have a single health and social system with a singly commissioned budget and more closely aligned entitlements, a report published by The King's Fund has claimed. 

The report from the independent commission on the future of health and social care in England argues that the current system is "no longer fit for purpose". 

Greater life expectancy, an altered disease burden, and medical advances have all resulted in more people requiring health and social care, the report concludes.

However, cutter economic growth means that better health and social care are not unaffordable, the report claims. But intense short-term pressures and long-term changes mean hard choices will need to be made on funding.

The commission's chair, Kate Barker, said: ‘The current systems rub up against each other like bones in an open fracture. The lack of alignment between them leads to serious problems of co-ordination, with the NHS and local authorities battling over who should pay for what, and patients, service users and their families left confused and bewildered. This is not sustainable – we need a new settlement fit for the 21st century.

'This report is our stake in the ground. The prize we seek – a single, seamless health and social care system that offers equal support for equal need – is a significant one. This necessitates making choices about how to pay for a better system – hard choices that we must look squarely in the eye."

NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster said: “Delivery of such a radical development must be accompanied by a greater emphasis on commissioners setting standards and rewarding providers for delivering quality care and outcomes, not just how much activity they carry out. It’s also important that the way care is financed reflects the real needs of people, not theoretical models.

“Crucially, we must face up to the need to look at the value our public services deliver, and how we resource them. This report is a valuable part of the debate and the NHS Confederation looks forward to providing the voice of NHS leadership to as we look to develop a positive future for the health and care system."

The commission is now looking for responses to the consultation, which proposes many solutions to improve integrated care. 

The full report is available to view on the King’s Fund website



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