The health and social care secretary appears to ha

Posted On Jul 31 2019 by

first_imgThe health and social care secretary appears to have ruled out sweeping changes to the funding system for adult social care.Matt Hancock, giving evidence about the adult social care funding crisis to a House of Lords committee on Tuesday (pictured), told peers that he saw a “series of injustices” in the system but was “more attracted to options that build and directly improve on the system than ripping the whole thing up and starting from scratch”.He hadearlier confirmed to the Lords economic affairs committee, which is conductingan inquiry into the funding of social care in England, that the government’sgreen paper had been delayed yet again due to the parliamentary Brexit crisis.TheDepartment of Health and Social Care (DHSC) originally promised that the greenpaper would be published by the end of 2017, and then July last year, beforedelaying it to the autumn and then the end of 2018.After missing the December 2018deadline, it wasdelayed until “the earliest opportunity” in 2019, before Hancock told MPs itwould be published by April.Now thatdeadline has been missed as well, and Hancock said he could only promise thatit was “coming in due course”.He added: “Iwish that the green paper had been published by now and we are continuing towork on it in the department because this is such an important issue and alongstanding policy problem that needs to be tackled.”He alsoruled out proposals that would change the system to one that was solely fundednationally, with no financing by local authorities, saying: “I don’t agree withthat.”And hesuggested that the green paper – when it was finally published – was unlikelyto include a definitive plan for how he believed adult social care fundingshould be reformed.He said:“What I would like to do is bring forward a green paper that can bring togetherthe debate, because it does have to be cross-party, and bring that debatebehind a direction of travel where we can make progress.”But he didstress to the committee that the funding crisis affected both working-ageadults and children, as well as older people, pointing out – as many politiciansfail to do – that about 50 per cent of local authority funding in this area isspent on working-age adult social care.And he alsosaid he wanted to see more funding for home-based support, rather thanresidential care.He said: “Ithink there’s a big difference and a big opportunity to make social carebetter, better for the individual being cared for and better value for money,by a shift from residential to domiciliary care.“Domiciliarycare is cheaper than residential care. People want to stay at home for as longas possible.”He added:“That sort of thing is much easier to fix than the long-term ‘who’s going topay for it?’ and that will get a mention in the green paper no doubt.”He acceptedthat there was often a financial incentive for councils to place older anddisabled people into residential care because it can allow the local authorityto take account of a family home as a financial asset when deciding how muchthe person should pay towards their care, which it cannot do if they remain intheir own home.He toldpeers: “What we do know is that more people go into residential care than isclinically justified and that domiciliary care is on average… better as well asbeing better value for money.”Hancock saidthat “taxpayer” funding would “inevitably be part of the solution” but that hebelieved it was “impossible” to put an “exact figure” on how much would beneeded, and that he could not confirm that there would be an increase intaxpayer funding for the system because of the government’s forthcomingspending review.He said thegovernment had put an extra £10 billion into social care over the last threeyears, while its spending was £3.9 billion higher this year in real terms thanin 2015-16, a nine per cent real terms increase.Two yearsago, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities warned the UK was “going backwards”on independent living,and called on the government to draw up a “comprehensive plan” to address theproblem, and to take “urgent action” to ensure disabled people were providedwith “adequate support to live independent lives”.A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img

Last Updated on: July 31st, 2019 at 3:19 pm, by

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