Tuesday 3rd July 2012

Today's Nuffield Trust report into Health and Social Care funding has demonstrated once again the need for urgent attention to be paid to the demographic and demand pressures on health and social care budgets. Attention needs also to be paid to options for funding, and the implications of different approaches for wider public sector spending, according to ADASS.

ADASS President Sarah Pickup said: The report goes a stage further than some recent publications and sets out some stark questions and choices about the funding of different services and options for the NHS of the future.

This important report, which sets the problems within the wider public-sector restraint context, once again points towards the need for a fundamental reappraisal of the role of the NHS, what citizens should expect from the service and how it should be funded."

She went on: the current debate about how to secure sustainable funding for adult social care and about the affordability of the Dilnot proposals is set into stark relief against the financial pressure we will face to maintain the NHS in its current form.

As the report itself says in relation to the spending scenario - both with and without the Dilnot proposals: Because spending on social care is relatively small as a share of national income, the difference between these scenarios is about 0.2% of national income by 2021/22, with social care spending reaching around 1.1% of national income under the current system and 1.2% under the Dilnot recommendations'

If the Government is struggling to find a way forward on social care, there must be real questions about its willingness to tackle effectively the significantly greater challenge this report poses around the future shape and funding of the NHS.  It is our belief that a failure to address the funding challenge for social care will only heighten the delivery and funding challenge for the NHS.

We in ADASS believe that one of the avenues we must explore is greater integration of social care and health commissioning and services. But to really drive this agenda forward across the country some fundamental changes to expectations and incentives will be needed. NHS/social care integration in itself will not provide all the solutions. But further integration with a fully reformed health service could make some contribution to meeting the challenges set out in this report."


For further information contact:
Sarah Pickup, ADASS President, 01992 556300
Sandie Keene, ADASS Vice-President, 0113 247 8700
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Presentation given to a recent joint ADASS/British Geriatrics Society seminar on integrated commissioning are available here.

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.