The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association (LGA) have come together to create a report titled ‘Joint vision for a high quality and sustainable health and care system’, on the long-term solutions required to make our health and care system resilient, preventative and promoting independence.
The report states that high quality, responsive, preventative, and personalised health and care services contribute so much to our lives and society by:
• enabling people to live their best lives and be active in their local communities
• supporting unpaid carers to continue caring whilst working and living their own lives
• offering rewarding, skilled employment and long-term careers to over three million people
• bringing together the best of the NHS, local authorities, adult social care providers, public health and the community and voluntary sector to support people to live good lives, meet growing needs and expectations of those who draw on care and health services
• boosting local, regional and national economies by contributing to economic outputs (Gross Domestic Product) as major employers and contracting with local businesses. Recent analysis shows that every pound invested in the NHS results in around £4 back to the economy through increased gross valued added (GVA), including through gains in productivity and workforce participation; and that the estimated adult social care sector GVA was £23.6 billion in 2016.
However, the report warns, all of the evidence points to a stark truth: our health and social care services are struggling to meet their statutory requirements to provide people with timely, safe, high quality and effective care and support. And despite the heroic efforts of all those working in social care and health, without immediate and long-term action from national Government, they will fail to improve, leading to worse health, wellbeing and economic outcomes for all of us.
The report also acknowledges the “heroic efforts” of the NHS and social care staff propping up the system, but says that health and social care will “fail to improve” without proper funding from the UK Government.
It continues: “We are pleased that the government has gone some way to addressing the financial challenges on social care and health in the Autumn Statement by providing more resources over the medium-term to meet inflationary pressures.
“But this funding will not address the underlying gaps, market fragility and workforce pressures across health and social care. Neither does it provide sufficient long-term certainly for social care and health organisations to invest in different models of care which prevent ill health and promote wellbeing, resilience and independence.”
The three national organisations contributing to the report all agree that a vision for all partners in the health and care system must focus first and foremost on promoting the health, wellbeing and prosperity of our citizens. This vision, they say is relevant to all of us, whether we need care, support or treatment now or in the future, provide unpaid care for family members, work in social care or health, or run businesses that contribute to health and wellbeing outcomes.
It focuses on:
• maximising health and wellbeing and preventing or delaying people from developing health and social care needs
• redirecting resources so that when people need treatment, and short term support they are assisted to make as full a recovery as possible, restoring their health, wellbeing and independence
• maximising independence and wellbeing for people with ongoing heath and/or social care needs by working with them to put in place the care and support that works for them.
The report calls on the Government to work with us and to put in place concrete measures to ensure that local leaders can achieve this culture shift, now and in the future.
To this end, we have three key asks – that the Government:
• invest in prevention and early intervention
• create the ability to plan for the long term
• deliver a long-term, fully funded workforce plan that covers health and social care – including the public health workforce.