Posted 6 January 2017
Three chairpersons of three different influential House of Commons select committees have sent a letter to Downing Street, urging the Prime Minister to forge a consensus on social care funding in England before 2020.
December’s announcement of ‘£900m’ in additional funding for social care was greeted with a mix of polite, caveated acceptance and howls of incredulity.
Others have stressed that even £900m won’t address the care funding shortfall, such as the Care and Support Alliance who called the package a “drop in the ocean”
In response, chairpersons Dr. Sarah Wollaston (Health Committee), Clive Betts (Communities and Local Government committee) and Meg Hillier (Public Accounts Committee) have signed a letter calling on the current government to initiate an “urgent” cross party review into the social care sector to find long term solutions to the problems of both funding and the disintegration of the NHS and social care.
The letter states that any review should begin “as soon as possible”, asserting that the Health Committee has already concluded that the social care system is “at breaking point”.
The lack of integration between the NHS and social care is also cited in the letter as creating “avoidable barriers and inefficiencies”, determining that any review should cover both the NHS and social care.
The letter comes two weeks after Theresa May’s appearance before the Commons Liaison Committee on the 20th December, during which Mrs. May said previous governments had “ducked” the issue of social care funding but that she is committed to ensuring a sustainable system for the future.
However, during that same session when asked about a cross party review Mrs. May said that it would “be for everybody to contribute and to be part of that decision” but that “past experience does not suggest that is the case”. An indicator perhaps that Mrs. May will be reluctant to initiate any cross party review and may instead opt for a review by the government itself, comprising several affected departments. This could allow her and her government to keep control of the issue – in house as it were - while appearing to be tackling the crisis in social care.