NHS Chief Executives Describe Terminal Situation in Social Care

The results of the recent government spending review are negative for the future of social care, at least according to two major chief executives in the health service.

Nigel Edwards the Chief executive of the Nuffield Trust and Chris Ham, the Chief executive of the King’s Fund, wrote a letter to the Guardian in which they expressed concern about the existing situation.

According to these two prominent individuals, the spending review represents another major setback for vulnerable individuals across the UK who requires social care.

Although acknowledging that the power to raise council tax could provide the government with some room for manoeuvre, the letter suggests that less revenue will be generated than suggested in the spending review.

Considering the massive variations in the amounts that councils will be able to raise via their tax base, deprived areas will become disadvantaged by this plan.

This will ensure that some regions of the country retain a heightened requirement for publicly funded care.

Additional money provided through the Better Care Fund towards the end of the parliament is welcome, according to the signees of the letter, but they also suggest that the existing situation has become terminal.

Edwards and Ham go as far as to describe social care as being in a state of crisis.

Far from supporting the plans of the government, the two chief executives describe the spending review as little more than sticking plaster solutions.

They believe that the plans of the government are no substitute for adequate funding, and that the situation must be remedied before the end of the existing Parliament.

Edwards and Ham site the fact that public funding for social care will fall as a percentage of GDP by the end of the existing Parliament.

This would be serious anyway, but considering the greying population of the UK, this figure defies demography and will reduce publicly funded social care to a threadbare safety net available only to the most needy and vulnerable members of British society.

Meanwhile, social care providers face huge pressures, with at least one of the big care home operators reportedly close to collapse.

The authors of the latter point out that in excess of 400,000 people have been denied access to requisite social care over the last five years alone.

In addition, thousands of elderly and disabled people face the same prospect going forward, and there is an extremely undesirable situation considering the vulnerability of these individuals.

The situation will only increase pressure on an already burdened NHS, with families and carers also bearing the brunt of the situation as well.

The letter concludes with an assertion that a new settlement which provides adequate funding for health and social care is needed now more than ever.


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