Labour Unveils Plans to Developing National Care Service

The Labour Party unveiled bold plans for a National Care Service on a par with Sir William Beveridge’s vision for the NHS.

Under the proposal backed by unison, the Fabian Society will review how a care service could be structured and funded, and led by the general secretary of the Fabian Society, Andrew Harrop.

Following the review, recommendations will be made to the Labour party policy review and to Wes Streeting MP, shadow health and social care secretary.

The review will consider ‘The latest evidence and policy proposals on adult social care in England, take evidence from key experts, and undertake quantitative analysis to develop up-to-date estimates of costs and benefits’.

In an interview in The Guardian, Wes Streeting admitted the scale of the challenge involved in creating such a service.

He said: “I would love to see a national care service delivered exactly on the same terms as the NHS, publicly owned, publicly funded, free at the point of use, but we’ve got to be honest about the scale of the challenge. So our starting point is to make sure we deliver national standards for care users and better pay and conditions for staff who work in social care.

“I think the key thing about a national care service is that it’s a journey, not an event. We would not be able to deliver this overnight or even in a single parliament.

“It’s about how we lay the foundations for it in the first term of a Labour government and then look to build on it in a second or third term.”

The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promised a national care service in the 2019 manifesto, however, his successor, Keir Starmer, has said he is “wiping the slate clean” and writing the manifesto again from scratch.

Andrew Harrop said:
“The Fabian Society, the trade unions and the Labour party have been working together to build Britain’s public services for over 100 years. The Fabians first called for a national healthcare service in 1911 and then played an instrumental role in the development of the NHS.

“We are delighted to now be working on plans to develop a national care service for England based on the spirit of those past reforms. We will present practical, workable proposals to gradually develop national entitlements, standards and funding models that will support the integration of social care with healthcare and are designed around local accountability and individual preferences and needs.”

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:
“A National Care Service is something we have campaigned for now for some 20 years or more as it would set social care provision on a par with NHS care and create cradle to the grave care in this country.

“I agree that any such service must place the status and recognition of the social care workforce at its heart. There must also be room for public, private and charitable provision through small and larger providers, to ensure choice.

“At the end of the day, this is an opposition party proposal and dependent upon the Labour Party gaining power for its fruition.

“But it is good to have the idea become part of the conversation around care, even if it is short on detailed proposals at this stage.

“We cannot continue as we are, with 1.5m people living without the care they need and care providers closing on a daily basis. Something has to change, root and branch reform must come and we welcome this proposal into the debate.”

 

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