William Eichler 05 July 2017

Think tank urges urgent health and social care ‘reboot’

The integration of health and social care requires an urgent ‘reboot’ by Whitehall following last month’s General Election result, think tank says.

A new report from Localis argued the integration agenda should not be held back by issues of funding, something which the Government should address in the forthcoming social care green paper.

Entitled Rebooting Health and Social Care Integration - An agenda for more person centred care, the report said integration should be focused on giving greater independence and control to all people receiving care, including a dramatic expansion in the usage of NHS Personal Health Budgets.

The study’s recommendations are based on a poll by YouGov which found 64% of Conservative voters and 78% of Labour supporters felt the state should be more involved in social care.

The poll also looked at views on the role of family members in supporting relatives. More than half (52%) of Conservative voters agreed for the need for greater help within families compared to over a third (36%) of Labour voters and an overall figure of 42%.

The report also suggested those who have never provided care to a relative considerably overestimate the financial burdens (41% vs 19%) and underestimate the emotional cost (27% vs 38%) compared to those who have.

Localis argued this meant the Government’s manifesto ambition of extending the right to request 52 weeks leave to provide care will be more difficult than first imagined.

‘Health and social care services face two interlinked challenges,’ said report author, Liam Booth-Smith.

‘The first is how to get enough money into the system to make it work effectively and safely for members of the public. The second is how to reform services so that people have more control over the care they receive.

‘Our research suggests that voters of all parties want government to act on social care, this means the forthcoming social care green paper has to address the issue of funding.

‘However, when it comes to service reform the public are less united. For example, government has long suggested greater family involvement in providing care is necessary but support for this appears to be divided on political lines.

‘The key to resolving this is ensuring efforts at reform and integration between health and care are driven locally, meaning services better reflect what local people want and need.’

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