Is a National Care Service the answer?

Social care reform is enormously difficult and there is attraction in the apparently simple concept of mirroring the National Health Service, which could offer comprehensive, high-quality, person-centred services that meet needs and enhance lives.

What would a national care service mean?

But questions remain. Who would be eligible for publicly-funded care? Who manages and commissions it? Who provides it? How it is funded and Who would regulate it? The answers to many may not have to sit centrally and may not be best carried out at a national level.

Who gets publicly funded social care currently, unlike the NHS, depends on their assets. The levels of these are set nationally and could remain so. There is an urgent need to lower the eligibility so more people have access funded support. National rules on eligibility need to be applied evenly – unlike now where there are variations.

If eligibility should be set nationally, management and commissioning of social care should happen locally. As much control as possible needs to be in the hands of people using services. Local councils know their communities and markets, and are best placed to support a person-centred approach. Yet, possibly due to finances, they don’t always deliver.

Most of England’s 18.5k social care providers (including Deckchair Care) are in the private sector, so who delivers a national care service is more interesting. A nationalised service would be hugely expensive, legally difficult and time-consuming to implement, without necessarily delivering the benefits its proponents expect.

In many people’s view, it is better to have a mixed market of providers from the public, voluntary and private sectors. That, though, requires local authorities to pay providers a fair price for good quality care, which in turn requires national government to fund councils adequately.

In conclusion, some aspects of adult social care should be run and funded nationally. This may be more complex than some might expect of a national care service, but it will deliver better social care.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

elderly care

Rapid response teams to help older people at home.

Care agency service

The NHS is planning to relieve strain on hospitals by offering a visit within two hours.

New teams will include nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and social care staff.

The “urgent community response” teams will operate 365 days a year and will help older people and those with complex care needs try to avoid ending up in hospital.

The teams are a key element of the NHS’s plan to provide increasing amounts of care in people’s homes.

The NHS and councils in seven areas of England will start putting the teams together and hiring staff from April 2020, with at least three starting to offer the service before next winter. Cheshire is one of the 7 areas.

Age UK estimates that there are almost 500,000 older people in England who are living at home and have multiple health and care needs.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are an independent, privately-owned care agency. We look after the elderly in Cheshire and South Manchester.

Read more about our care service

elderly care

Social care needs predicted to double in next 20 years

Home much does home care cost

There has been growing concern over the cost of providing care for older and disabled adults. Spending on social care in English councils has shrunk by £7bn since 2010.

Research suggests there is going to be an explosion in social care requirements for Britain’s ageing population.

A recent study has concluded that health and social care services must adapt to the unprecedented needs of an older population with complex care needs, and warned the state should not rely on family carers as a sustainable solution to the problem.

“In the next 20 years, the English population aged 65 years or over will see increases in the number of individuals who are independent but also in those with complex care needs. This increase is due to more individuals reaching 85 years or older who have higher levels of dependency, dementia, and comorbidity. Health and social care services must adapt to the complex care needs of an increasing older population.”

Those who have dementia and at least two other major health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, will double over the next two decades, it estimated, suggesting an extra 500,000 people will need complex forms of care.

The government has promised a green paper on social care funding will be published in the autumn.

Social Care Trends

The study also highlighted different trends for men and women, with the latter likely to experience higher levels of care dependency than their male counterparts by 2035, and fewer years of later life spent free of care needs.

Prof Carol Jagger of Newcastle university’s Institute for Ageing, and a co-author of the Lancet paper, said the gender differences highlighted the importance of focusing on disabling long-term conditions such as arthritis that were more common in women than men.

Simon Bottery, a senior fellow in social care at the King’s Fund thinktank, said: “This study is further evidence of the scale of pressure building up on social care services from an ageing population, which is compounded by growing demand from working age adults with disabilities.”

Read the Lancet article here 

And a press article of the report from the Guardian here.

About Deckchair Care

Deckchair Care are a domiciliary care company helping to look after the elderly. Read more about our independent care service on our main website.

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Helping care for the elderly

Blame and Targets Stopping Better NHS and Social Care Communication

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A recent report by the CQC blames a lack of communication between care providers and the NHS for bed blocking.

Social care and healthcare providers were failing to properly work together, the regulator warned, with divisions “sharpened” by “defensive behaviours”, it concluded.

“The sustainability of the health service depends on a sustainable social care system”

Read the article here

Find out more about how Deckchair Care uses technology to improve social care delivery and communication

Set up a National Care Service to protect our NHS

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Writing in the Guardian, Sonia Sodha’s article outlines how the NHS and Social care need to be joined up to save both.

“The founding principles of the health service must be extended to social care. Otherwise, the NHS will be run into the ground”

“.. the NHS embodies not just the principle that the affluent pay more than the poor through their taxes, but that the sick don’t pay more than the healthy”

“.. while it may be alive and well in the NHS, it’s glaringly absent from social care. If you’re unlucky enough to get cancer, you are covered by the NHS. Get dementia, however, and those with modest assets are on their own until they have spent much of their savings; even then, cuts to local authority budgets, out of which social care is paid, mean it’s increasingly hard to get state help.”

“We shouldn’t be expecting baby boomers to meet costs individually, but asking more affluent retirees to pay for the social care system through progressive taxation”

Read the full article here

Find out more about Deckchair Care and their at-home care services

Councils join demand for tax increases to fund social care services

at home care

A survey carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA), has found that the vast majority of local authorities in England say taxation is the only viable solution to the funding crisis.

There have been growing concerns after another delay to government proposals on resolving the crisis and complaints that funding for care has been diverted to the NHS.

“Properly funding social care and prevention services not only helps councils with overstretched budgets to protect care services for the benefit of those requiring them, it also helps to prevent further crises in the NHS and saves the health service a fortune by keeping people safe and well in their own homes, reducing the number of hospital admissions.”

Read the full article here


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Care Home Residents Evicted – 40% Increase

at home care

According to an audit by the Association of Directors of Social Services – at least two thirds of councils, and thousands of elderly residents, have experienced recent home care closures.

“Council chiefs said the sector was becoming “increasingly fragile,” with cuts to social care in recent years fuelling pressures on the NHS, and adding to the burden on families.”

“This latest evidence, from every council in England, lays bare once again the need for, as the Prime Minister put it herself, a proper plan to pay for and provide social care.”

Read the full article here:

Find out about our Cheshire based home care service

Ex Minsters Call for free Social Care

at home care

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPRP) has compiled a report that sets out how the NHS and social care could make productivity savings.

“The government should make social care free to everyone who needs it to take pressure off the NHS, former Labour and Tory health ministers have said”.

The reforms would require annual spending on social care to double, from its current level of around £17 billion to £36 billion, by 2030.

“It is costing the NHS £3bn a year to care for people in hospital who are fit enough to be sent home but haven’t got sufficient support”

Read the full article here

NHS to get £20bn, but Social Care Still Waits

at home care

Social Care Funding Still Waiting

With the recent announcement that the government is investing £20bn in the NHS (which is obviously good news), the spotlight has again turned to social care funding – or lack of.

“Putting money into the NHS without putting it into social care is like pouring water down a sink with no plug in”

There is an estimated £2.5bn social care funding shortfall, but at least the government green paper on how to fix/fund it is due in the next few weeks.

Read the full article here: