Social care needs a funding settlement ‘similar to the NHS’

16 May 18

The NHS and adult social care sector should work more closely together – and the latter should be funded in a similar way to the health service, local government figures have heard.

Collaboration between the NHS and adult social care is “inevitable”, Amyas Morse, auditor general of the National Audit told a Local Government Association conference yesterday.

“I think that involves [the social care sector] having a very strong dialogue with the NHS,” he told delegates at the future of social care conference.

He talked of the challenges facing social care - growing demand and lack of resources - and explained social care needed to work more closely with the NHS to become more sustainable.

Morse also said the adult social care sector should receive the same sort of long-term funding settlement given to the NHS.

Theresa May agreed in March to provide multi-year funding settlements for the NHS, saying a long-term sustainable plan for the health service was her “critical priority”.

“There’s an argument that if the NHS can get long term funding then so should adult social care,” Morse told the conference yesterday.

“I think what we need is a suitable financial model and long-term funding.”

Stephen Dorrell, former health secretary and current chair of membership organisation the NHS Confederation, said that thinking about how the services can “link together, is at the heart of the solution.”

Stressing the importance of a “shared agenda”, Dorrell stated the need for a “joined up view that reflects the need of the citizens we are looking to serve”.

The two policies were brought closer together at the start of the year when Jeremy Hunt became the secretary of state for social care as well as health, following a cabinet reshuffle.

Morse said as well as social care and health policies being aligned it was also important for politicians to work across political boundaries for the benefit of the sector.

“Trying to get cross-party consensus is something we must try for,” he told the local authority delegates at the conference.

Richard Humphries, senior fellow at health charity The King’s Fund, said that governments’ efforts to improve the social care system over the past 20 years have been “a typical cycle of failure ” .

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