CIPFA Health and Social Care Policy Manager, Dr Eleanor Roy said:
“The aim in the early days of the pandemic was, understandably, to ensure that the NHS was not inundated – and in this regard measures succeeded. This has not come without a cost, and the full extent of the impact is unlikely to be realised for some time to come.
''The report demonstrates a lack of understanding from government of the impact on the adult social care sector. Social care settings, while capable of dealing with outbreaks of some infections, could not reasonably be expected to deal with the demands of the current situation. The pandemic highlights that it is essential to maintain a view of the interdependency between spending on the NHS, public health and adults’ and children’s social care in totality. Any weaknesses in the resilience of any of these services will have implications for the others.
''Adult social care reform is decades overdue – the sector entered the pandemic facing mounting levels of demand and unmet need, workforce shortages, an increasingly fragile provider market and significant underfunding. COVID-19 should be a catalyst for reform – the shift in public perception of health and care means there may never be a better time to address this thorny issue.''
View the full NAO report here.
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.