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‘No 10-year-plan for social care’, committee hears


By Léa Legraien
Reporter
19 July 2018

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There will be no 10-year plan for social care, a Government committee has heard.

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) permanent secretary Sir Chris Wormald told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday that there will be no 10-year plan for social care but the adult social care green paper is due in the autumn.

His comment comes after PAC questioned NHS and Government leaders – including NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, DHSC interim director general of community and social care Jonathan Marron and local government and public services director general Jo Farrar – on the interface between health and social care.

Delayed green paper

Sir Chris said the adult social care green paper, which will be published by the end of November, was delayed to look at all the issues raised by the committee and the National Audit Office in its latest report on health and social care, ‘at the same time’.

However, he could not confirm how much funding social care will receive, saying that the ‘right level of spending’ will be debated during the spending review, which is expected to take place in the autumn.

Mr Marron added that the paper will look at how we fund social care, its sustainability, what additional protections might be put in place to help people who face extremely large costs in social care and changes to caps, among the ‘specific issues’ pointed out by PAC.

He said: ‘We will look at a wider range of proposals on how we get high-quality effective adult social care services, [for] both working age and older people.’

Joined integration

Mr Stevens argued that getting social care right will reduce the rate of growth in additional demand managed by hospitals and help speed up the discharge of frail older people.

He continued: ‘As a result of a vigorous focus on hospital discharge between hospitals, community health services and local health and social care services, we have genuinely turned around the corner on delayed transfers of care.

‘We were running around 6,500 hospital beds, [now] down to 4,500.

‘Incredible strides have been made across the country as a result of joined-up work between health and social care.’

At the moment, there are 19,000 people who have been in hospital for more than 21 days out of the 100,000 who occupy a bed, according to Mr Stevens.

He pointed out that although it is ‘absolutely right’ for some patients to stay in hospital for more than 21 days, it can be ‘deleterious’ to those who are stuck in hospital, impacting on their independent recovery.

The next phase of the journey is to reduce the number of the people who stay in hospital longer than 21 days by a quarter, a goal that will ‘take time’, he said.

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