Commenting on the publication of the report, Richard Humphries, Assistant Director of Policy at The King's Fund said:
'The report makes a powerful case for change, adding further weight to calls for fundamental reform of health and social care to respond to the changing needs of patients and service users. It is right to propose a new model of care with services co-ordinated around the needs of individuals, a stronger emphasis on prevention and more care provided outside hospital.
'We strongly support the call for a national conversation to discuss the future funding of health and social care. With both services coming under significant financial pressure, there is an urgent need to confront difficult choices about affordability, funding and entitlements to services. This is why we have established an independent commission, under the leadership of Kate Barker, to examine whether it is time to end the historic separation between the NHS and social care.
'We welcome the proposals to extend the use of single budgets for health and social care. Wisely, the report suggests an evolutionary approach which builds on existing structures, rather than advocating another major structural reorganisation.
'The next government will need to respond to significant financial and service pressures in the NHS and social care. Today's report puts flesh on the bones of how Labour could approach this challenge if elected but suggests some changes which differ from the party's current position – there is clearly a good deal of detail to be worked through before definitive policy proposals emerge ahead of the General Election.'
Notes to editors:
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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and health care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.