The Government’s delay of the publication of an eagerly anticipated green paper on social care until Autumn is ‘disappointing’, a health think tank and a local government representative body have said.
Responding to the Government’s decision to delay the social care green paper until the Autumn spending review, Association of the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) president Glen Garrod said ‘it’s a real shame that the Government has decided to delay the green paper as the questions raised in it do need urgent answers’.
His comments come after Prime Minister Theresa May announced yesterday that the NHS England budget will grow by £20.5bn by 2024 but failed to outline social care funding levels.
‘A very challenging situation’
Mr Garrod continued: ‘With a delayed green paper and no additional funding, the brutal reality is that older and disabled people, and their families, are struggling now.
‘With fewer of them getting support until they’re in crisis and need support in hospital, this is a very challenging situation for them, and their families and loved ones.’
Echoing Mr Garrod’s comments, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) community wellbeing board chairman, Councilor Izzi Seccombe told Healthcare Leader that this delay will have a ‘knock-on effect on the subsequent introduction of legislation’.
She added: ‘It’s hugely frustrating and disappointing that this green paper has been delayed.
‘It is nonsensical to start and conclude work on a plan for the NHS before setting out the options on social care funding, as the two services are inextricably linked.
‘For this delay to make sense, there needs to be proper engagement over the summer with the social care sector – to enable fully formed proposals complete with sector backing to be set out alongside the NHS plans.’
Mr Garrod also highlighted that a third of councils have seen providers close or cease to trade in the last six months and social care now consumes 8% more of councils’ overall budgets than it did eight years ago.
The ADASS annual budget survey revealed last week that 92% of councils who increased their precepts to cover social care costs said they were doing so ‘to keep pace with demographic pressures’, which include the increased numbers of older and disabled people needing care. These are expected to cost a further £448m in 2018/19.