Councils and the NHS must help reduce “dependence on the state” for health and care services in order to avoid a “grave crisis” sparked by rising demand and falling resources, a commission set up by Essex County Council has concluded.

The Who Will Care? commission, led by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chair of Imperial College’s institute of global health innovation, called for a “new understanding between the public sector and the people of Essex”. It said members of the public should be more willing to take responsibility for their own health and care and that of the people around them.

The commission also highlighted people’s lack of understanding of how care is funded as an area for improvement.

Essex CC is believed to be the first local authority to launch a detailed investigation into the future delivery of health and care services. The commission has collected evidence for eight months across the county.

The report said health and care services must help to “return ownership of people’s care back to them”.

It said the number of people in Essex neededing social care support could rise from 35,000 to more than 137,500 by 2030.

“Carrying on as we are is not an option because we’re on the verge of a real crisis in care for families in Essex,” Sir Thomas said. “It is clear to us that the ability to take more control over our care really is the only game in town.”

In an article for HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle to mark the launch of the report, the council’s Conservative leader David Finch wrote: “The report sets out a stark challenge for us all.”

He said the local health and wellbeing board would be tasked with drawing up a plan to put the commission’s recommendations in place.