Things continue to move apace in the Department of Health’s agenda for improving social care.
We’ve now had a ‘Vision for Social Care’ published. I was struck when reading it how strongly the prevention agenda features. So the document says that local authorities who cut back on social care are engaging in ‘a false economy’. Local councils and the health service are now required to sit down and look at how they can jointly plan and fund services that will prevent breakdowns in peoples health. Many of us who have argued for change within the social care field could have written tracts of this Vision document.
I think it is fair to say that ministers have given a very strong lead to councils and the local NHS on the need for a big expansion in preventative care. What we now need to see is that local decision makers deliver on that vision. It is worrying that the BBC survey launched as part of its growing old in Britain series found that many councils are actually looking to further restrict their social care provision.
Andrew Lansley recently confirmed to the health select committee that the local NHS would have to account for how they were using the £1 billion that has been set aside for innovation in social care. Our expectations have been raised now and we will need to see how these funds are being used. Watch this space…