Responding to a report by the National Audit Office on health and social care integration, Margaret Willcox, President Elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:
“This report is not surprising given that integration plans are obviously severely hampered by current acute pressures in social care and the NHS.
“Integration is not the answer to improving social care, but should be seen as the means to an end to transform services to provide better coordinated care for people who need it.
“The risk of integration is that it focuses on structure whereas the focus should be on the potential to improve outcomes.
“The NHS can only be protected if social care is protected too, and the case for a single, shared and sustainable funding settlement is overwhelming.
“Sustainable systems should be geared to keeping people well and preventing escalation. It is deeply worrying that people’s needs are not prevented from escalating because of an absence of GPs, physios, social care and inclusive employment.
“Any integration needs to ensure adult social care funding is appropriately managed within a wider system, that the focus is not lost on care for people at home and work is done to make care work a high value career.
“We urge the focus of any integration to remain on the underlying challenges and long-term sustainability of social care, and are constantly working with the NHS to keep the care market and the NHS going despite significant wider pressures.”