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8 Feb 2012

Government must listen to influential select committee on social care

The VODG has thrown its weight behind today's new health select committee report that underlines the fragmented state of the UK's social care system and suggests how the government might fix it.

The report into the future of social care makes recommendations to the government ahead of the white paper on social care due this spring. While some of the committee’s proposals focus on those aged 65 and older, many are relevant to younger people with a disability or those long-term conditions.

The VODG submitted evidence to the committee as did several individual VODG members. Responding to today's findings from the committee's inquiry, John Adams, VODG general secretary, said: “We share the committee’s concerns, particularly in relation to support and funding for younger adults with disabilities and fully support their recommendations on the Dilnot funding reforms such as setting caps on care costs.”

Adams added: “Increasing numbers of vulnerable disabled young adults are deemed ineligible for social care support and many depend on ageing parents, often living in the family home into their mid-life. Interventions are all too frequently as a result of a crisis or family breakdown which is both inefficient and unfair in terms of well-being and citizenship.”

Joined up funding and services remain the holy grail of the social care sector, as today’s report stresses, despite numerous attempts over the years to fix the problem. The VODG has long argued that money should follow the individual and services should be designed with the person at the heart of the process.

Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the committee, said today that it is impossible to deliver high quality, efficient services “when the patient is passed like a parcel from one part of the system to another, without any serious attempt to look at their needs in the round.”

The report’s main recommendation is for joined up commissioning and the committee is urging the government to place a duty on the new clinical commissioning groups and local councils to create a single commissioning process, accounting officer and outcomes framework for older people's health, care and housing services in their area.

The report’s other recommendations include:

  • better co-ordination of policy across Whitehall
  • the replacement of overlapping, confusing frameworks with one outcomes framework for older people
  • a recognition of the widening funding gap between those needing care and the amount of money in the system to deal with their (rising) needs
  • accepting the Dilnot report’s recommendations in for caps on care costs
  • ensuring GPs identify much earlier and assess more clearly the needs of carers
  • developing a new, integrated legal framework to support integration of health, social care and other services around the needs of the individual

The full report is available on the committee's website.