70th Anniversary of the NHS and the case for integration of health, mental health, social and community care, House of Lords, 5 July 2018

There cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable adult social care system.


Key messages

  • Adult social care is a vital council service in its own right that helps to transform people’s quality of life. It supports adults of all ages with a range of different needs and their carers. There cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable adult social care system. It should be seen as an equal partner with the NHS, rather than simply as an adjunct to reduce pressure on acute health services.
  • Since 2010, councils have made savings worth £6 billion in adult social care. Deeper reductions to other council services and incremental measures by Government to increase the level of funding for social care has enabled the service to stay afloat. There will be a funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2025 if an urgent solution is not found.
  • All services provided by councils has an impact on the public’s health and wellbeing. Tackling the wider determinants of health prevents people becoming ill in the first place and reduces the associated costs to local government, the NHS and the rest of government.
  • Numerous Select Committee reports, as well as our own ComRes polling, highlight that there is cross-party consensus around the need for new funding for adult social care.
  • In addition to this, our recent survey of council leaders and adult social care cabinet members in all 152 councils providing social care in England reveals that 96 per cent believe there is a major national funding problem in adult social care.
  • We support Lord Darzi’s proposal to tailor our model of care around people’s needs and capabilities, however we are concerned that legislative and structural change is seen as the main way to achieve this.
  • Urgent action is needed to ensure that our health and care system is fit for purpose and changing the law to achieve this will take too long for the people who need support now. The longer the wait for a solution, the more pressures grow.
  • We are therefore disappointed that the publication of the Green Paper has been delayed, as this is an opportunity to prioritise establishing a long-term funding solution for adult social care.
  • As a result of this delay, the LGA now intends to publish its own green paper on adult social care later in July, complete with consultation and engagement. This will kick-start an urgently-needed debate about how, as a society, we should fund this vital service in the future.

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70th Anniversary of the NHS and the case for integration of health, mental health, social and community care House of Lords