For too long social care has encouraged dependence rather than fostered independence - the Green Paper provides a clear vision of a future with very different kinds of service which aim to give as much control as possible to those who use services.
That was the reaction of The King's Fund to the government's consultation document on adult social care published today.
The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:
'This is a positive vision for social care and there is much to be enthusiastic about. The proposals have the potential to give people more control not least by greater use of direct payments, the development of individual budgets and the notion of care brokers to ensure they have access to the information and services they need.
'The key issue will be making all these policies reality, not just for clients in 30 years' time but for elderly and disabled people today. Our Care Services Inquiry, which will deliver its final report in the summer, has already indicated a series of shortfalls, with local authorities and primary care trusts struggling to engage in prevention while they are fire fighting the needs of the severely ill.
'We cannot avoid the question of how this new vision will be funded. Sir Derek Wanless, who we have commissioned to carry out a fundamental review into the long-term demand for and supply of social care for older people in England, will map out the likely costs over the next twenty years.'
The King's Fund welcomes the debate on the Green Paper and as a start has invited the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Dr Stephen Ladyman MP to a breakfast discussion tomorrow (22 March 2005).
He will be giving his view alongside executive director of the National Centre for Independent Living Nick Danagher; vice president of the Association of Directors of Social Services Julie Jones; and chair of the NHS Alliance Dr Michael Dixon. The debate will be chaired by The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson.
The breakfast discussion will start at 8.15am and will take place at The King's Fund, 11-13 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0AN. If you would like to attend, please contact Sarah Robinson on 020 7307 2539.
Notes to editors:
1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
2. The King's Fund has commissioned former NatWest Group chief executive Sir Derek Wanless to carry out a fundamental review into the long term demand for and supply of social care for older people in England. This report will follow the two independent reviews Sir Derek conducted for the Government on future health care spending in the UK and on public health in England. Although the social care review will focus on older people, The King's Fund hopes to move into other areas of adult social care, such as mental illness and learning disabilities once this review is complete. Sir Derek will report back the findings of his review by the Spring of 2006.
3. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.