Reform is not being taken seriously, says Niall Dickson
January 29, 2019
Social care reform has made little progress over the past 20 years, according to NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson.
Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum in London in January, Mr Dickson said that, despite three commissions, as well as white and green papers, the last 20 years had seen very little headway in progressing with frequent breakdowns of cross-party consensus.
“Despite some of the great things that are going in social care, including in places really imaginative technology, the reality is that we cannot say yet we are at the dawn of a new era for social care,” said Mr Dickson.
“The system has gone on and many good things have happened, but the reality is we have more unmet need now. It is always something that is going to happen tomorrow. It’s always just about to happen.
“The trouble is social care has always been politically awkward and reform has stuttered, even when governments have had substantial majorities.”
Mr Dickson said social care reform in countries such as Germany and Japan had taken about ten years to come into fruition, and that the seven principles for reform outlined by former Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt last March, which covered quality, integration, control, workforce, support, sustainable funding and security, could have been produced f20 years ago.
He said social care needed a funding settlement that provided stability for a ‘considerable amount of time’ and not ‘hand to mouth’ support from year to year.
Mr Dickson said the recently published NHS long-term plan should have been a health and social care proposal, that the two services were interdependent and with one being broken, the other would not thrive.
“We really are not taking this seriously at national level and I think we need to do a lot more,” he said.