Laura Sharman 22 April 2020

Think tank argues social care should be 'free at point of use' after Covid-19

The Government has been urged to use the coronavirus crisis to undertake long term social care reform, in a new report by the Policy Exchange.

The report argues the Covid-19 crisis can be used to remove the historic funding barrier between the NHS and social care, and deliver improvements to the sector.

It is calling for new measures to be introduced in the tax system to make social care ‘largely free’ at point of use for older and work age people who require long-term chronic care.

The report argues: ‘What comes next for health and social care policy is impossible to fully predict, but to deliver a healthier, wealthier nation post COVID 19 new thinking will be needed.

’This virus has raised fundamental questions about the resources available for health and social care, how they are divided, how workforce challenges across the NHS and social care can be addressed, the potential of digital health to transform the access and delivery of healthcare services and the resilience of healthcare supply chains.’

Other recommendations include using temporary NHS hospitals to support managing NHS and social care demand and flow, and locking in the digital gains made through COVID 19 through a ‘digital lock-in strategy’.

It also calls on the Government to use its response to the Prevention Green Paper to set an ambitious public health and prevention agenda.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'This report echoes our own calls about how social care should be on an equal footing with the NHS. People of all ages should be able to live the lives they want to lead and we are pleased the Government previously announced it was to begin cross-party talks, as part of finding a long-term, sustainable solution for adult social care.'

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