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Hancock 'intends' green paper release before April

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Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has said he “certainly intends” the adult social care green paper to be published before the end of the financial year.

When asked during a House of Commons debate on the NHS Long-term plan yesterday about the timing of the green paper, which has been repeatedly delayed, he declined to be specific and repeated that it would be “soon”.

However, he added: “I certainly intend that to happen before April.

“My previous commitment was to do it before Christmas, so it is well advanced.”

Mr Hancock was also challenged on the NHS long-term plan’s pledge to focus on prevention at a time of ongoing reductions in the public health grant to councils.

He said the ring-fenced grant is important and “being delivered well because it is being delivered by councils in concert and tied to other subjects”.

The long-term plan said the NHS and the government will look at using the NHS budget to fund some public health services which are currently commissioned by councils.

They will “consider whether there is a stronger role for the NHS in commissioning sexual health services, health visitors, and school nurses, and what best future commissioning arrangements might therefore be,” it added.

During the debate Mr Hancock said: “…turning the firepower of the whole NHS to keeping people healthy in the first place will play a huge role in this.

“Of course, the public health grant has to be settled as part of the spending review, but the idea that that is the whole of everything with regard to preventing ill-health is missing the point.”

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