Responding to the Government’s delay of the social care green paper until the Autumn, Glen Garrod, President of the Association of the Directors of Adult Social Services, said:
“It is right that the Government has chosen to mark the NHS’ seventieth birthday by investing in it. Such investment is essential if we are to maintain our world-beating, free-at-the-point-of-use health system. If this money is to make a difference, it must be invested in primary and community health services, which will help keep people well at home and prevent them from needing to enter hospital in the first place. We will work with the Government and the NHS to help develop the NHS Plan and will place a strong emphasis on this community work.
“However, it is also the seventieth anniversary of the National Assistance Act – which created social care – this year too. The decision to delay the social care green paper caps off a disappointing few days for everyone involved in social care, including our dedicated workforce but more importantly the people we serve – adults with disabilities and our grandparents and parents who need support. It’s also a false economy - if we adequately fund social care we can prevent and reduce the pressures on the NHS. This new settlement fails to address the underlying issues in our health and care system which makes it a stepping stone to nowhere.
“Just last week we warned of the consequences that a lack of care is having on care markets. A third of councils have seen providers close or cease to trade in the last six months and social care now consumes eight per cent more of councils’ overall budgets than it did eight years ago. We are in the midst of a real funding crisis and we need the Government to ensure they continue to provide short-term, emergency funding if we are to ensure the choice and control over their care that they rightfully expect.
“It’s a real shame that the Government has decided to delay the green paper as the questions raised in it do need urgent answers. With a delayed green paper and no additional funding, the brutal reality is that older and disabled people, and their families, are struggling now. With fewer of them getting support until they get into crisis and need support in hospital, this is a very challenging situation for them, and their families and loved ones.
“For social care to make a real difference, it’s essential that it is person-centred and tailored to the individual. Such care can reduce pressure on hospitals, but much more importantly, it enables people to live independently as long as possible. We need this green paper to be delivered as soon as possible. The NHS is now in a position to make long-term plans based on a long-term funding solution. Social care can do neither.”