Adult social care white paper published

The government has published a ten year vision for adult social care which it argues will help provide greater choice for those receiving care and certainty over costs.

Part of the government’s wider social care plans, the paper is backed by £5.4 billion, which for the first time provides a limit to the cost of care for everyone in the adult social care system, and significantly increases state support.

The transformed social care system will apply to people in both residential and at home care and will set daily living costs at a lower rate than originally proposed, helping people save more money.

The government is also establishing further details on how over £1 billion for system reform will be spent over the next three years to improve the lives of those who receive care – as well as their families and carers. This will include providing greater choice, control and support to help people lead independent life by including funding to transform homes and improve the physical, digital and technological infrastructure.

The government says that, through the funding, the range and amount of new supported housing is to be increased through £300 million in housing investment, to help local authorities offer greater choice, care and support. On top of this, new technology and digitisation will be backed by at least £150 million to improve care quality and safety, support independent living and allow staff to provide focused care where it is needed. The improvements will be funded through the 1.25 per cent Health and Social Care levy.

Additionally, the 1.5 million strong adult social care workforce will see a record £500 million invested so they have the opportunity to progress in their careers with training and qualifications while providing an even better standard of care.

The reform programme also includes: £70 million to assist local authorities and improve the delivery and standard of care; an increase to the upper limit of the Disabled Facilities Grant for home adaptations; up to £25 million to work with the sector to kickstart a change in the services provided to support unpaid carers; and a new national website to provide easily accessible information for the public on social care and at least £5 million to pilot new ways to help people understand and access the care and support available.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The pandemic has been an important turning point for social care, putting into the spotlight the incredible work the sector delivers day in and day out and highlighting the urgent need for change.

“This ten-year vision clearly lays out how we will make the system fairer and better to serve everyone, from the millions of people receiving care to those who are providing it. We are investing in our country’s future – boosting support to help people live at home with their families for longer and ensuring that health and care work hand in hand so people get the help they need.”

Former Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was critical of the white paper, saying that the plans would do nothing to stop ‘hospital wards continuing to be full of people who should be discharged and older people not getting the care they need because the carers don’t exist’.

Hunt, who chairs the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, described it as ‘three steps forward and two steps back’.

Liz Kendall, Labour’s Shadow Care Minister, said: “Ministers have utterly failed to deal with the immediate pressures facing social care as we head into one of the most difficult winters on record.

“Hundreds of thousands of older or disabled people [are] being left without vital support, piling even more pressure on their families at the worst possible time, yet the minister has announced absolutely nothing to deal with any of this.”