Responding to the NHS Long Term Plan, Glen Garrod, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said:
“The new financial settlement for the NHS is the largest single increase for any public service in recent times outside of the spending review. ADASS welcomes the publication of the long term plan as an opportunity to assess how the additional money will be used to improve the overall health and wellbeing of local communities and not just to relieve current pressures on hospitals.
“ADASS is pleased to see that priority will be given to primary care, mental health and community services. Alongside social care and housing, these services are vital to enable people to live as independently as possible in their own homes & communities through the right mixture of joined-up services thus reducing the need for admission to hospital for mental or physical health reasons and or long term care. We reiterate our commitment to work collaboratively with the NHS at local, regional, and national levels to achieve these goals. The proposed expansion of personal health budgets is also very welcome, there is much that can be learnt from the experience of social care in implementing personal budgets in extending choice and control.
“It is encouraging that the new plan recognises the importance of prevention. However it is hard to see how this can be delivered with continuing cuts to public health budgets, where spending per person has fell by nearly a quarter since 2015/16. The contribution that local government generally makes, for example in leisure and housing, to prevention needs to be recognised in this context.
“The new plan sets out how the NHS will respond to demographic change, increasing complexity and acuity of needs, rising costs and workforce constraints. These same challenges are driving the pressures on social care. As the previous NHS Five Year Forward View recognised, an effective NHS depends on adequately funded social care – the two services are inter-dependent. Now that there is a long term plan in place for the NHS, it is deeply disappointing that the promised Green Paper setting out proposals for sustainable long term funding for social care has still not been published.
“The Green Paper and the NHS Long Term Plan should have been developed in parallel. A major opportunity has been missed. The absence of clarity and certainty about future social care funding represents a major risk to the ambitions of this NHS Plan.”