In response to the Prime Minister's recently announced plan for health and social care, CIPFA Health and Social Care Policy Manager, Dr. Eleanor Roy said:
"Today's plan showed some encouraging signs - but it is only a limited first step towards meaningful reform of, or sustainable funding for, social care. The announcement does little to address the challenges facing adult social care, and does even less to create a sustainable financial path going forward. Overall reform has been kicked into the long grass yet again, with the promise of yet another white paper.
"The announcement makes clear that the government's priorities are focused on addressing the backlog in the NHS and protecting individuals against the 'catastrophic costs' of care.
"The announcement of a Health and Care Levy is expected to raise around £12 billion per year, from next year. However, this is to be ring-fenced for both health and social care, and is accompanied by a new cap on care costs and an extension of the current means test. While these measures will reduce the catastrophic costs incurred by individuals, they also increase the public funding required for social care overall.
"Furthermore, the measures announced today fail to address the underlying challenges, including increasing demand, unmet need, reliance on unpaid care, ever tightening budgets, the need for preventative investment or the existing problems of stability in the provider market. The plan indicates a continued reliance on the social care precept and efficiencies to meet demand and cost pressures, which undermines councils' ability to plan for good financial management as they are increasingly reliant on short-sighted measures. The spending review presents an opportunity to provide adequate funding to deal with these immediate pressures.
"CIPFA calls on the government to accelerate the reform that the sector has long needed; to determine what manner of social care system it wants and how to fund it."
Notes to editor
CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.