NHS Providers response to the LGA green paper on adult social care and wellbeing
We welcome the initiative the Local Government Association (LGA) has taken in drafting a green paper for social care, and have been very pleased to contribute to the broad coalition of interested parties the LGA has convened in its steering group to discuss the implications of its proposals.
The publication of the NHS long-term plan presents an opportunity to adapt and improve the NHS to meet society’s growing and changing healthcare needs. We have argued that the plan must confront the reality of growing demand for treatment as a result of the growing and ageing population and the increasing numbers of people living with long term conditions. We also believe that the plan must honestly set out how the NHS and social care will work together as one system to cope with this demand. It is therefore essential that the adult social care and support green paper and the NHS long-term plan are developed in alignment
Funding options for social care are a political choice, however numerous national reviews and the LGA green paper have set out a series of practical options for the government to consider. Now is the time for the government to act.
The consultation spans the interface between health and social care, public health and wellbeing, and the wider determinants of health. We agree that each of these functions and the organisations involved in delivering them make distinctive and important contributions to the health and wellbeing of a population. We cannot have one without the others, therefore it is not possible to discuss social care funding without also addressing the funding challenges in public health, within the NHS and across the range of local government services which support people to maintain their health.
- When the social care system cannot meet rising demand, pressure on NHS services rises. This is well documented in the acute sector, with considerable national focus placed on reducing delayed transfers of care, but is equally relevant to the ambulance services, community and mental health services. Conversely, when the social care system is funded to actively support service users to live independently and maintain their wellbeing, the NHS benefits.
- Strong relationships are vitally important for the integration of health and social care. Over and above any new policy initiative or restructuring of existing organisations and services, it is the collaborative relationship between leaders and staff at local organisations who work together to deliver joined up care and support for people in their community that enables the best use of resources.