Jeremy Hunt has outlined the key principles of reform to the adult social care system and announced a 10 year strategy to align the health and social care workforce.
In his first speech since the renaming of his department to include social care, Mr Hunt said he feels the “weight of stalled reform programmes on my shoulders” and pledged a “relentless and unswerving focus on providing the highest standards of care – whatever a person’s age or condition”.
He said the seven principles of reform, which will be detailed in the green paper in the summer, are:
- Quality and safety embedded in service provision.
- Whole person, integrated care with the NHS and social care systems operating as one.
- The highest possible control given to those receiving support.
- A valued workforce.
- Better practical support for families and carers.
- A sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market.
- Greater security for all – for those born or developing a care need early in life and for those entering old age who do not know what their future care needs may be.
As well as the 10 year workforce strategy to align health and social care, Mr Hunt announced a £1m pilot across Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire to provide everyone who receives social care with a joint health and social care plan.
He called for “a partnership between the state and individuals” and said the green paper will include proposals on establishing a “risk pool” for people with complex care needs who are “disproportionately financially affected”.
Mr Hunt added: “We need a relentless and unswerving focus on providing the highest standards of care – whatever a person’s age or condition.
“This means a commitment to tackle poor care with minimum standards enforced throughout the system so that those using social care services are always kept safe and treated with the highest standards of dignity and compassion.
“Resolving this will take time. But that must not be an excuse to put off necessary reforms.”
The health and social care secretary also said reform must embrace changes in technology and medicine “that are profoundly reshaping our world”.
He added: “By reforming the system in line with these principles everyone – whatever their age – can be confident in our care and support system, confident that they will be in control, confident that they will have quality care and confident that wider society will support them.”