Social care reform

Proposals for reforming social care have been set out in what the government describes as an “ambitious 10-year vision” based on person-centred care.  The White Paper, People at the Heart of Care, outlines how the government expects £1.7 billion of its previously announced additional funding for social care to be spent on “major improvements” across the system.

Measures include £300 million to integrate housing into local health and care strategies, £150 million to drive up the use of digital technology, £500 million to train up the workforce, and up to £25 million to “kick-start a change” in services for unpaid carers.  A new national website is intended to provide easily accessible information for the public on social care.

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid admitted that the pandemic had been a turning point, showing the commitment of staff but “highlighting the urgent need for change”.  He promised to “boost support to help people live at home with their families for longer and ensuring that health and care work hand in hand so people get the help they need.”

Alzheimer’s Society said the government’s plans had the potential to “transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in England” and could put social care firmly on the right path.  But James White, head of public affairs and campaigns, added: “Ambitious proposals are not enough – they will fail if the government tries to fund social care on the cheap through stingy funding settlements.”

In its autumn spending review in September, the government promised an additional £5.4 billion for social care over the next three years, £3.6 billion of which will go to pay for the planned £86,000 cap on individual care costs and an extension to the means test.