Health Select Committee report – a compelling case for change

The Health Select Committee report on Social Care is clear and unequivocal in saying that current funding for social care is inadequate, and that planned efficiency gains cannot be achieved without fundamental reform. We agree.

The reforms which the committee has in mind are nothing if not radical. A single health and social care system for older people is proposed, with a new legal framework which should cover both health and social care.

To achieve this the committee proposes a single local commissioning process. This should set its sights beyond just health and social care to include other services such as housing. Integration of commissioning would be led by a single high powered commissioner, whose role would be to overcome conflicting local priorities and to ‘create agents within the system who have both the ability and the incentive to drive the necessary process of fundamental change in service provision’. The commissioner would be accountable to NHS Commissioning boards, Local Authorities, service users and to local democratic arrangements.  A single outcomes framework would replace the current Adult social Care and NHS outcome frameworks.

Integration is seen as being not an objective in itself but ‘an essential tool to improve outcomes for individuals and communities’. A pragmatic approach to integration, with the emphasis on integrated processes and outcomes, is very welcome. Proposals that the commissioner should be accountable to the local community and to services also deserve strong support. We look forward to taking part in the debate that this report is sure to stimulate.

In the meantime, we hope the government heeds the commission recommendtion that it should press on with reform, and should implement the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations on care funding as a matter of urgency. We couldn’t agree more.

Age UK are calling on the Government to reform the social care system. Find out more about Age UK’s Care in Crisis campaign and how to sign up to our petition.  

One thought on “Health Select Committee report – a compelling case for change”

  1. Whilst the committee report is welcome it lacks true depth.

    The proposals are principally concerned with the bureaucracy of social care, there is little mention of front line social care or acknowledgement that the vast majority of social care provision is supplied by private comapnies (i.e. companies and charities) rather than by public bodies. Whilst a single commissioning service may save money and improve the current postcode lottery it is difficult to see how this integration would really impact on frontline care provision.
    There is a need for a full, comprehensive and fundemental review of social care in the UK but this needs to start from the front line of social care – what are the real costs? how can we improve the lives of the most vulnerable in the most immediate setting? how can we transform the image of working in social care from a low-paid ‘vulnerable worker’ image to a professional image that truly reflects a lot of the work done to support the most vulnerable.
    Until we look at social care at the point it is delivered any changes by Government will be mere exercises in bureaucracy

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