Health for Care is a coalition of 15 organisations representing the entire breadth of the NHS joining forces to make the case for a sustainable, long-term settlement for social care.
Finding a long-term, sustainable solution to how we pay for and provide care and support to people in England is among the greatest challenges our country faces. The impact on the public has been profound, with record numbers of people now left to struggle each day without the care and support they need. We believe it is the time to put this right.
Despite the importance of social care in enabling people’s independence and dignity, successive governments have failed to adequately support the sector. There are around 1.4 million older people who are not able to access the support they need. As things stand it is inevitable that this number will rise. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, that figure will increase to more than 1 million by 2025. Already up to 58 per cent of people over 60 are living with at least one long-term condition such as diabetes, arthritis or hypertension, the numbers with co-morbidities has been rising by 8% a year. The task then is to support an ageing population, with increasingly complex needs. It is little wonder that this is not being achieved given that the funding of social services for home help and other care funding has fallen by 11 per cent in the last five years.
3 recommendations critical to achieving a new, long-term settlement
Our Health for Care coalition has developed a set of principles upon which we believe a sustainable social care system should be based. We hope they will be a useful contribution to the debate ahead of the publication of the adult social care Green Paper. Alongside the principles, we have three recommendations that we believe are critical to achieving a long-term settlement for social care:
- Eligibility should be based on need and must be widened to make sure that those with unmet or under-met need have access to appropriate care and support. Around 2.1 million people in the UK were estimated to have received some level of informal care in 2014, but the number of family and friends providing unpaid care in England increased from 4.9 million in 2001 to 5.4 million in 2011. Moreover, Age UK have identified that at least 1.4million people have unmet or under met need.
Any new settlement should provide secure, long-term, funding at a level to enable the social care system to operate effectively and deliver the outcomes that people want and need. The settlement needs to address immediate needs from April 2020, as well as putting the social care sector on to a sustainable path for the longer term. That will require the right funding, workforce and a diverse and stable market of providers. This will need to be supported by good quality, trusted information and advice to help people navigate the care system effectively. The Spending Review presents an essential opportunity to invest in social care at the same scale as the Government is now investing in the NHS.
A recent report commissioned by the NHS Confederation, and undertaken by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation, calculated that social care funding would need to increase by 3.9% a year to meet the needs of an ageing population and an increasing number of younger adults living with disabilities. We recognise that any significant additional funds must be accompanied by reform and improved service delivery. Social care services and the NHS are working together to transform and integrate local care services, but they can only go so far when services are being placed under so much strain.
9 key principles for a new social care settlement