The COVID-19 crisis has one again demonstrated the need for a new settlement for social care and highlighted the critical role the sector plays in the delivery of health and care services. The disparity between the NHS and social care services has been laid bare, exposing vulnerabilities in funding and market stability, workforce and data, PPE and testing, and care home deaths and contingency planning. This has had a marked impact on patients, families and communities.
This theme will push for a fundamental shift in how we think about and fund social care, calling for social care to be put on an equal footing with the NHS.
The immediate focus has been on dealing with the impact on social care and care homes, but it will be critical to consider the need for longer term reform of social care.
The fragility of the care home market has been debated widely and features high on the ‘worry list’ for both the NHS and local authorities. Now is the time to work together on a future system redesign to learn from the transformation and develop a sustainable social care system fit for the future. This requires a fundamental shift in how we think and fund social care in the future.
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