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Responding to the NHS Long Term Plan, Dr Eleanor Roy, CIPFA policy manager health and social care, said:
“The long term plan signals a welcome move towards removing some of the financial and legislative barriers to integration of health and social care, which we look forward to considering in more depth as further details emerge.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, the approach to integration is firmly rooted within the NHS itself, with a focus on primary and community care, but there is some recognition of the importance of social care. It commits to continued support for blending health and social care budgets – although the specific nature of how such support may manifest remains unclear – and to a further review of the Better Care Fund.
“The missing ingredient to this is, of course, the lack of a long term sustainable funding solution for social care. With predicted overspends in adult social care budgets of £136m in 2018-19 and further savings of £700m to be found, the long term plan’s underlying assumption that social care will not impose any additional pressure on the NHS over the next 5 years may be overly optimistic in the absence of a longer term solution.
“A truly integrated approach would have been to ensure that the long term plan and social care green paper were jointly produced and published – this represents a missed opportunity to lead from the top and provide a more comprehensive picture of the intended direction of travel.
“Similarly, in term of prevention the long term plan signals a move in the right direction. The plan identifies new commitments for the NHS in prevention, particularly with reference to commissioning, but recognises that it cannot substitute for the role of local government. However, the continued cuts to the public health grant do not appear to support this rhetoric.
“We hope that the green paper on prevention expected later this year will provide a more holistic view of the preventative agenda and the respective roles of the NHS and local government.”
For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on T: 020 7543 5703 or E: Liam.Macandrew@cipfa.org
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.