King's Fund commission rethinks health and social care

18 Jun 13
The King’s Fund has set up a commission to consider the future of health and social care.

Chaired by economist Kate Barker, a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, it will consider whether the 1948 welfare state settlement, which established different systems for health and social care, remains fit for purpose. The King’s Fund said this set it apart from other reviews that have been conducted.

The commission will answer three broad questions: whether the boundaries between health and social care need to be withdrawn; whether the entitlements and criteria used to decide who can access care should be aligned; and whether health and social care funding should be brought together and, if so, at what level.

King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said: ‘The NHS and social care system have remained separate since their inception in 1948. Sixty-five years on, the needs of patients and service users have changed and the world is a very different place. The time has come to return to first principles and ask whether the current arrangements are fit for purpose.’

Barker added that the commission’s remit got to the very heart of the debate on how best to organise health and social care.

She said: ‘I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to consider whether, and if so how, the current settlement should be reshaped to meet better the needs of twenty-first century patients.’

The other commissioners working alongside Barker are: Geoff Alltimes, former chief executive of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and NHS Hammersmith and Fulham; Lord Bichard, chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence; Baroness Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre; and Julian Le Grand, professor of social policy at the London School of Economics. Mark Pearson, head of health at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, will act as the commission’s international adviser.


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