The King's Fund responds to the Health Select Committee's report on social care

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Responding to the Health Select Committee’s report on social care, Richard Humphries, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund said:

‘Successive governments have talked about the need to integrate health and social care but have failed to make it happen. The time for warm words and good intentions has passed delivering integrated care must assume the same priority over the next decade as reducing waiting times was given over the last.

‘The Committee is right to stress that a more ambitious approach is needed to achieve this based on co-ordinated commissioning and pooled budgets. We think this could go a stage further by moving towards a single assessment of the funding needs of the NHS and social care in future spending reviews.

‘Today’s report hits the nail on the head by calling for health and social care services to be organised around the needs of older people and those with complex needs. In our view, this could be achieved by setting an ambitious new goal to improve the experience of patients with complex needs, backed up by enhanced patient guarantees including an entitlement to an agreed care plan and a named case manager responsible for co-ordinating care. Our work shows that health and wellbeing boards can also play an important role in bringing services closer together.

‘The report also provides another endorsement for the capped cost model for funding social care recommended by the Dilnot report. As the Committee notes, there is a clear consensus on this and no reason why the government should not accept the report’s core recommendations in principle.

‘The Committee is also right to highlight pressures on services as a result of cuts in local authority funding our research suggests that a funding gap of at least £1.2 billion could open up by 2014 unless councils can achieve unprecedented efficiency savings.’

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