Care crisis highlights need for incentives to encourage people to save for care
Yet another report highlighting the crisis in social care
The NHS could be bankrupted by failing to address social care properly – Government needs to introduce incentives to save for care
Minimum wage, appalling working conditions and constant cost-cutting by private firms and councils leads to sub-standard care
Integrate social care with healthcare – why the artificial distinction?
Yet another report is released today highlighting the inadequacies of our social care system. Baroness Kingsmill has rightly highlighted the ongoing crisis in our approach to looking after vulnerable people in this country. Staff on minimum wage contracts, often with no security, zero hours, no pay for travel time and forced to continually cut the length of each visit cannot deliver decent care.
This is such an important issue – we will need to change the way we think about how society looks after people and also encourage saving for later life care needs – currently there are no incentives at all to encourage care saving – and the Dilnot cap will not solve the funding issues that underlie the looming crisis.
I have put in a response to the Barker Commission looking at reform of social care in England and I believe integration of health and social care is essential in order to stave off a far worse crisis in future.
Ultimately, inadequate social care could bankrupt our beloved National Health Service. Care needs should be attended to at an early stage, which can avoid much more expensive interventions later on.
That means combining budgets for health and social care, rather than persisting with the current artificial and often arbitrary distinction between what is considered a health need and what counts as social care. We cannot continue to leave social care in the hands of cash-strapped councils and highly indebted private providers and the Dilnot reforms of social care funding will not solve the problems that are coming down the track.
The care cap only starts when care needs reach _substantial_ so anyone who requires help with moderate needs will get no contribution from the NHS or care system to address their requirements. If, however, doctors were able to ‘prescribe’ low levels of social care intervention, along similar lines to the prescription of medicines, this could save more expensive interventions that often result from inadequate early treatment. Some of my suggestions include:
- Integrate social care with healthcare
- We need a national system of care, just as we have a national health system – currently the care system is randomly spread across the country according to local rules
- Remove artificial distinction between healthcare and social care – if someone cannot look after themselves in some way they ultimately have a health need
- Improve standards of training and working conditions for care staff
- Allow GPs to ‘prescribe’ care for those with moderate needs, just as they prescribe medicines for treatment of other ailments
- Failing to address social care is likely to cost taxpayers far more when the NHS picks up the bill for preventable accidents or illnesses that could have been addressed by social care
- Government needs to introduce incentives to save for social care
Here is a link to my response to the Barker Commission: http://bit.ly/1sQv16V