Healthwatch England’s recent report, Safely home, described in harrowing detail the personal stories of patients who felt that their discharge from hospital was unsupported. It also described patients marooned in acute beds unable to move on. So how can older people's care be improved?
Amid growing concern that most NHS providers are sliding into deficit, arguably we should be even more worried about social care providers, says Richard Humphries.
Chris Ham gives his assessment of the new government’s health policy.
The government’s decision to breach an explicit manifesto commitment by delaying reforms to social care funding until 2020 again demonstrates the apparent inability of successive governments to make headway on this issue.
If promised spending increases do not materialise soon, and ministers insist on the NHS regaining control of its finances, then urgent action will be needed, says Chris Ham.
The connection between housing conditions and health has a long and well-evidenced historical provenance. But if integrating health and social care is a tough nut to crack, does the prospect of engaging with another massive system risk adding another layer of complexity?
Former New York governor Mario Cuomo once said that politicians campaign in poetry but govern in prose. When it comes to social care issues in the current election campaign, most UK politicians are struggling with even basic literacy.
What then are we to make of the commitments made by the three main political parties?
The coalition has done well to pass the Care Act, but bigger change is now needed. In an ageing society social care has become too important to play second fiddle to the NHS, says Richard Humphries.
As debate on the future of the NHS rises up the agenda ahead of the general election in May, the government can take comfort from our report on the British Social Attitudes Survey 2014, which shows public satisfaction with the NHS at its second highest level since the survey began.
The NHS faces three major challenges in 2015: preparing for the spending review, achieving much closer integration of health and social care, and ensuring that the NHS has the leadership in place to deliver the highest possible standards of care within available resources.
As the dust settles on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, this is a good time to review what it told us. I think it contained three big messages: one on money, one on reform, and one on social care.
The government expects councils and NHS partners to achieve way too much, with too little, too soon, says Richard Humphries.
The deafening silence on future funding amounts to a failure of the political process at a time when the NHS is heading rapidly towards a deep and damaging crisis.
The growing problems in the NHS and social care cannot be solved by the Better Care Fund or any of the other short-term solutions on offer. Nothing less than a fundamental reform of the funding of health and social care services and citizens’ entitlements to publicly funded support is required to address these problems.
I agreed with much of what Simon Stevens said at the Age UK For Later Life conference until he stated that he would be ‘disappointed’ if care homes still existed within the next 50 years. I didn’t get the chance to challenge him but I want to do it now.
Although earlier rumours of the demise of the Better Care Fund – the government’s £3.8 billion pooled fund to promote integrated care – have turned out to be greatly exaggerated, the significance of the government’s latest announcement about the fund should not be.
Dominic Stenning is a member of the experts by experience group for the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England. He spoke at the launch of the interim report, giving a frank and compelling patient perspective on the health, mental health and social care system.
The post-war settlement that created the current divide between health and social care must be replaced. If we duck the hard choices laid out by the Barker commission, then services will progressively deteriorate with patients, users and carers the real losers.
Although all the political parties agree about the importance of integrated care as an end, willing the means to achieve it is another matter, says Richard Humphries.