New health and social care secretary Matt Hancock must draw up a plan for both parts of his brief, not the NHS alone, health leaders have warned.
NHS Confederation chair Stephen Dorrell, and chief executive Niall Dickson, said in a joint letter: “We do not need an NHS plan, we need a health and care plan.”
They urged Mr Hancock to ”grasp the social care challenge” and publish the long-awaited green paper soon, saying “the case for short term funding to lift the immediate pressures on social care is also overwhelming”.
The proposed NHS plan should be widened into a strategy that brings health and care together and involves local government, the voluntary sector and independent providers of health and care services in place of the current fragmented system, the letter said.
Such a plan should be used to “begin to shape a new and very different health and care system [with] a set of sensible parameters for the development of local health and care systems, while allowing local discretion”.
There would need to be discussion, they added, of “what legislative change is required to create structures and incentives that put users and patients at the heart of the system, and holds those who provide and those who commission services to account”.
They welcomed the additional funds for health in the settlement announced last month but said that without clarity on future funding for social care, public health, staff training and capital, “there is a danger the additional money identified thus far will not achieve the transformation in these services which is so badly needed”.