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Think tank calls for greater health and social care integration

4 September 2014 - 12:24pm

The CSP has welcomed a major new report that calls for much greater integration between health and social care with a unified budget and single commissioners for local services.

King's Fund

CSP supports the aim of creating a genuinely integrated system of health and social care. See the illustrated summary or download the full report below

The Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England, established by the King’s Fund proposes a simpler pathway of support through the health and social care system, with care designed around patients’ needs.

Attendance allowance, the benefit paid to older people with care needs, would be brought into the single social and health care budget, and the government should consider making local health and wellbeing boards the single local commissioner of integrated services, the report says.

Sue Browning, deputy chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: ‘We fully support the aims of the commission to create a genuinely integrated system of health and social care services.

‘We also believe that integration can be achieved without yet another major reorganisation of the NHS, and highly-effective joint services already working across the two sectors offer examples of the way forward.’

The commission, chaired by economist Dame Kate Barker, proposes that social care for people defined as ‘critical’ should be free immediately, with free social care extended to those whose needs are ‘substantial’ as the country’s economy improves.

By 2025, some means-tested support would be provided to people considered to have ‘moderate’ social care requirements.

To pay for this the commission rejected extending NHS charges apart from radically reducing the number of prescriptions that are currently exempt from payment.

It also proposed raising funds from a 1p National Insurance levy on those over 40 and NI contributions from people working past state retirement age, as well as restricting free TV licences and winter fuel payments to those on pension credit.

Ms Browning said: ‘While we believe a new system should be based on the principles of the NHS – funded through taxation and free at the point of delivery – it is encouraging that the commission calls for more money to be collected through the tax system to pay for integration.

‘Greater resources are necessary to provide vital services that keep people out of hospital and living independently at home - and to ensure funds from one sector are not simply taken to plug a hole in the finances of the other.

‘However, new funding should not come from a disproportionate extra burden on older people already living on low incomes.’

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