The Association of the Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) has described the government’s decision to delay the social care green paper until the autumn as a “real shame” that has capped off a “disappointing” few days for the sector.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told Parliament yesterday that the green paper will be postponed until the autumn, to coincide with the NHS plan.
Mr Hunt said: “The long term funding profile of the social care system will not be settled until the spending review and we will publish the social care green paper ahead of that. Because we want to integrate plans for social care with the new NHS plan, it does not make sense to publish it before the NHS plan has even been drafted.
“We now intend to to publish the social care green paper in the autumn, around the same time as the NHS plan.”
Glen Garrod, president of Adass, said the decision to delay the social care green paper “caps off a disappointing few days for everyone involved in social care”.
Mr Garrod said: “It’s a real shame that the government has decided to delay the green paper as the questions raised in it do need urgent answers. With a delayed green paper and no additional funding, the brutal reality is that older and disabled people, and their families, are struggling now. With fewer of them getting support until they get into crisis and need support in hospital, this is a very challenging situation for them, and their families and loved ones.”
Mr Garrod said the sector “need this green paper to be delivered as soon as possible” and added: “The NHS is now in a position to make long-term plans based on a long-term funding solution. Social care can do neither.”
Izzi Seccombe (Con), chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “It is hugely frustrating and disappointing that this green paper has been delayed.
“These reforms were promised to offer funding solutions to the long-term sustainability of adult social care, and by extension to the health and social care system, but this delay will have a knock-on effect on the subsequent introduction of legislation.
“This means, with rising demand and people living longer, care providers will continue to close and hand back contracts to councils without a funding solution for longer, putting high quality and effective care and support services in real jeopardy.”
Cllr Seccombe said it was “nonsensical to start and conclude work on a plan for the NHS before setting out the options on social care funding” as both as “inextricably linked”.
She added: “For this delay to make sense, there needs to be proper engagement over the summer with the social care sector to enable fully formed proposals complete with sector backing to be set out alongside the NHS plans.”
The government also needs to address the forecast £2bn adult social care funding gap by 2020, along with reductions to public health budgets, said Cllr Seccombe.