Care providers have welcomed proposals to reform the way the NHS is run but urged the Government to press on with vital reform of social care at the same time.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) warned that care providers looking after older and vulnerable people were in danger of again being left the poor relation to NHS care.
And it said the heroic work carried out by social care on the frontline against Covid-19 had proved how vital it was and earned it the right to urgent reform.
The Government was today outlining proposals for health services, GP surgeries and social care to work more closely. Under the proposals the NHS and local authorities will be left to run services and collaborate with each other to provide better care.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “It is welcome news that NHS reform is happening but aside from mentioning social care, the Government hasn’t gone far enough in outlining its future. It is vital that both are reformed at the same time, otherwise social care will be left behind once again. Reforming NHS care without reforming social care is like rebuilding a house without mending the roof.
“We have argued for more than a decade that NHS care and social care need to be equal partners and ideally merged. But how can that happen when £8bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2010, some 1.4m people are living without the care they need and there are 100,000 vacancies for social care staff?”
As a matter of urgency, the ICG wants to see:
- A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
- NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally
- Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance
- Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
- A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT