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Jeremy Hunt: We need to do better for social care

Published on 21 March 2018 02:08 PM

The Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined key principles to reform social care, including a joint NHS and social care 10 year workforce strategy and a £1 million pilot to ensure all users get joint health and social care assessments and care plans.

The Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined seven principles of reform he believes are needed to create a world class social care system. 

Speaking in front of health and social care leaders on Tuesday and thanking staff for their hard work as 'they struggle with fragmented services coming under unprecedented pressure', Mr Hunt warned that the NHS is coming under increased pressure because of delays caused by social care.

Launching his blueprint for reform, Jeremy Hunt said: 'Too many people experience care that is not of the quality we would all want for our own mum or dad. [...] We need a relentless and unswerving focus on providing the highest standards of care – whatever a person's age or condition. This means a commitment to tackle poor care with minimum standards enforced throughout the system so that those using social care services are always kept safe and treated with the highest standards of dignity and compassion.

'Resolving this will take time. But that must not be an excuse to put off necessary reforms. Nor must it delay the debate we need to have with the public about where the funding for social care in the future should come from – so the Green Paper will jump-start this vital debate.'

Seven key principles

Mr Hunt's speech, the first by the Health and Social Care Secretary since his Department was given full responsibility for social care in January 2018, set out the seven key principles to reform social care which will be detailed in a Green Paper to be published in the summer. He said as the new Health and Social Care Secretary he feels the 'weight of stalled reform programmes on my shoulders.'

The Health and Social Care Secretary's principles of reform are:

  • quality and safety embedded in service provision;
  • whole person, integrated care with the NHS and social care systems operating as one;
  • the highest possible control given to those receiving support;
  • a valued workforce;
  • better practical support for families and carers;
  • a sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market; and
  • greater security for all – for those born or developing a care need early in life and for those entering old age who do not know what their future care needs may be.

Commenting on these principles Mr Hunt said:

'Innovation will be central to all of these principles: we will not succeed unless the systems we establish embrace the changes in technology and medicine that are profoundly reshaping our world.

'By reforming the system in line with these principles everyone – whatever their age – can be confident in our care and support system. Confident that they will be in control, confident that they will have quality care and confident that wider society will support them.'

In his speech Mr Hunt called for 'a partnership between the state and individuals' and said that the Green Paper will bring forward ideas which will look at how we better 'risk-pool' for people with more complex care needs that are disproportionately financially affected, as the Prime Minister promised in the election campaign.

Mr Hunt has also announced:

  • A joint 10 year NHS and social care workforce strategy to align the NHS and social care workforces.
  • A consultation to extend rights to integrated personal budgets to those with the greatest ongoing social care needs to put more control in the hands of individuals and their families.
  • A new £1m pilot in Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire to ensure every user of adult social care will be given a joint health and social care assessment and care plan.

'There's no avoiding the need for an urgent injection of Government funds into social care now'

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK and co-Chair of the CSA (Care and Support Alliance) said: 'The devil will be in the detail of the Social Care Green Paper but the "seven principles" Jeremy Hunt announced today are encouraging because they suggest the Paper will consider the things that really do matter to older people and disabled people in need of care - like ensuring service quality and a strong and motivated workforce.'

'It was also good to hear a definite commitment from the Government to publishing the long overdue Carers Action Plan in advance of the Green Paper itself, with the latter pledged "before the summer".'

'But however positive the Green Paper turns out to be it won't in and of itself solve the dire funding problems facing social care today. There's no avoiding the need for an urgent injection of Government funds into social care now, in our view.'

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Last updated: Mar 21 2018

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