Councils in England struggling to meet care obligations, says charity

28 Sep 17

Councils in England are struggling to meet their obligations to prevent, reduce, or delay the need for care as set out in the Care Act 2014, according to a report from the Red Cross.

The charity also noted in its report Prevention in Action that the government’s plans to fully integrate health and social care is lagging behind schedule for the 2020 deadline for implementation.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “It is concerning that spending on preventative care has gone down at a point when local authorities should be scaling up.

“The Red Cross is concerned that intentions to fully integrate health and social care might remain a mere aspiration too.”

Adamson said some areas in England had showed a willingness to transform services but he warned that it was crucial that local decision makers are given the backing and resources they need to ensure consistent and effective implementation in all parts of the country.

He added: “The proposed green paper on social care provides a good opportunity to reconsider what is needed to make the Care Act’s vision for prevention and the integration of health and social care services a reality.” 

Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed in the Budget in March a social care green paper would be coming out later this year.

The Care Act 2014 overhauled social care provision in England. One of the main differences was local councils had a duty to promote the well-being of carer as well as placed a duty on councils in England to make sure preventative services were available locally. It also introduced a new appeals system.

The report Prevention in Action report, which came out on Friday last week, found:

 ·      Local government is cutting funding in prevention and integrating health and social care services despite acknowledging that prevention will reduce costs in the future

·      There is inconsistency between local authorities when it comes to defining the meaning of prevention as set out in the Care Act 2014

·      Interpretations vary on how to fulfil government ambitions for full health and social care integration

·      A lack of clarity on how to implement practical measures to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support.

·      Despite some improvements in the last 12 months, necessary changes are not happening at the scale or pace needed to truly ease the current pressures on our health and social care system.

 The British Red Cross is calling on the government to reassess the resources required to implement the duties outlined by the Care Act 2014 and explore what is needed to make integration and prevention work in practice.

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