Local authority efforts to reform health and social care has been put at risk by the pace of government cuts, council chiefs have warned.
A survey of council chief executives by Solace found that 50 per cent believed the scale and pace of budget cuts as one of the main barriers to health and social care reform.
More than half of the 59 respondents said that they have made cuts of at least 10 per cent to adult social care budgets since 2010. Two-thirds expect a further cut of 10% by 2018. The cuts are being predicted despite significant transfers of NHS cash to councils.
The survey also revealed a downbeat assessment of NHS organisations’ attitudes, six months on from councils taking over the public health portfolio. The survey revealed 45 per cent of respondents believed that organisational cultures within health bodies were problematic.
The survey was published alongside a separate Solace report which called for an all-party consensus to drive a radical shake-up of social care.
The report, Principles for health and social care, warned that with demand for all services set to rise rapidly, the balance between ‘reactionary’ and ‘preventative’ health spending must change.
Solace warned change was vital because that by 2030 demand have risen significantly among younger adults with learning disabilities and physical or sensory impairment as well as older people.
It argued that “the journey towards the greater integration of health and social care needs to accelerate - both local government and the NHS need to grasp the integration nettle”.
Included in the report were 10 guiding principles for reform including a demand that local areas be allowed to evolve differently.
Joanna Killian, chair of Solace, said: “We need to place people at the heart of a system that makes sense to them. It makes sense that an individual has one person overseeing all of their health and care needs and working with them to coordinate these.
“Structural reform is not enough. Local areas need to move beyond treating ill health and supporting people with care needs. They need to think about how to improve the health of their whole population.”