Health and social care needs urgent ‘reboot’

Integrating health and social care should not be held back by issues of funding and instead needs an urgent ‘reboot’, according to a new report.

Rebooting Health and Social Care Integration - An agenda for more person centred care, published by the Localis think tank, says that integration should be provide greater independence and control to all people receiving care.

The report recommends that the forthcoming social care green paper government should make
the question of a sustainable funding solution central, and that the government should support better collaboration around finance and commissioning locally by simplifying departmental responsibilities.

To support the long term joining up of social, primary and community services in order to create person centred local services, government should look beyond the NHS England Five Year Forward View and, as had been recommended by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Long Term Sustainability of the NHS, set out a medium term strategy up to 2025. It also recommended that the government establish a long term health and care workforce review.

A recent YouGov poll following the General Election revealed that 64 per cent of Conservative voters and 78 per cent of Labour supporters felt the state should be more involved in social care.

Liam Booth-Smith, the report author, said: “Health and social care services face two interlinked challenges. 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.”