Theresa May Begins Massive Review of NHS Policy

In the midst of major difficulties in the NHS, the Prime Minister Theresa May has signalled her intention to begin a major policy review of social care funding, delivery and integration.

While the entirety of the healthcare system is cause for concern at present, social care is considered to be particularly disadvantaged.

Several senior officials have been seconded to a team at the Cabinet Office in order to conduct the review.

The team assembled includes Department for Education director general for children’s services Paul Kissak; Care Quality Commission deputy chief inspector for social care Sally Warren; and Charlotte Buckley, currently a deputy director at the business department, who until recently worked on social care at the Department of Health.

Precise details are not currently available regarding the modus operandi of the review, but it is clear that the government has recognised the need to seriously assess the picture in social care.

It is known, though, that an internal report on options for the care sector going forward is expected by March.

In preparation for the final report, the team involved has already begun visiting areas with particularly well-developed links between health and social care, in order to understand what lessons can be learned from them.

Manchester and Nottingham are first on the list of places to be visited, with experts on care and integration being interviewed.

Several sources within the government have indicated that work for report is focused on medium and long-term change, as opposed to short-term improvement and emphasis on statistical gains.

The Prime Minister intends to examine a wide range of issues according to reports, with the funding model, approaches to bringing health and care together, commissioning, delivery, and the role of intermediate care considered its biggest priorities.

May spoke on the subject in the House of Commons last month, indicating that it is essential for the situation in social care to be adequately assessed.

“We need to make sure that reform is taking place, so we see best practice in the integration of health and social care across the country. We also need to ensure that we have a longer term solution to give people reassurance for the future that there is a sustainable system that will ensure that they receive the social care they need in old age. That is what the government is working on.”

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman briefly confirmed that the social care system will indeed be examined.

“The Cabinet Office is carrying out work with key departments to consider aspects of social care.”

Cross-party talks on care funding have been scheduled, while it is widely acknowledged by experts that the social care system is already dealing with massive pressures.

 

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