Katie Johnston, Public Sector Director at KPMG UK, comments on the Budget and its implications for social care:
“The Chancellor has acted to address the immediate crisis in social care funding, but has pushed back the real decisions that will be needed to improve services and make them more sustainable for the future. His priority appears to be to reduce pressure on the health service, not on solving the crisis in the care system. The £2.4bn announced for social care contains funds that have already been allocated for future years. The small print needs careful examination to ensure that the money isn’t coming from other local government allocations.
“Councils will also need to understand the proposed ‘intervention regime’ on delayed hospital transfers, which could lead to perverse short term actions that undermine the care market, and implementing Sustainability and Transformation plans. The allocation of capital to kick start STPs is welcome so long as it addresses social care and community health services, as well as supporting greater efficiency in hospitals.
“Meanwhile, the proposed Green paper risks rehashing the outcomes of a Royal Commission and two previous white papers, none of which have been implemented. Without real reform in community health care and social care, the additional funds and the capital announced today risk propping up the old system that doesn’t work instead of building a new one that does.
“Councils, the NHS and care providers must work together to make the most of the resources available and deliver radical changes to the system, so that it can cope with rising demand without constant injections of new money.
“In the coming months, councils and social workers need to reset their focus to support community solutions to the problems they encounter. They need to understand and harness the resources and assets that are available within their local area and act as facilitators for families, carers and voluntary organisations. This goes hand in hand with steering councils away from simple outsourcing adult social care to the provider market and, instead, creating a partnership that supports more professionalised care allied to more community support.”
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