The prime minister has indicated the government is prepared to change legislation in order to make it easier for councils and the NHS to work better together, while Theresa May said any extra funding for social care will only be considered as part of the spending review.
In yesterday’s speech outlining her pledge to provide £20bn a year in extra funding for the NHS by 2023, Ms May said “we should make sure the regulatory framework keeps in step and does not become a barrier to progress” as the NHS evolves and “delivers more joined up care across different services”.
“So where legislation is making it harder for professionals from different parts of the NHS and different local authorities to work together – we should be prepared to change it;
“Where it is resulting in overly bureaucratic processes – we should be prepared to change it;
“And where it is making it harder to hold NHS leaders accountable for delivering better outcomes for people – we should be prepared to change it.
“However, as we do this, I believe that any legislative proposals ‘should be led by the health and care community’ as recommended by the health and social care select committee.
“We must learn the lessons of the past and not try to design or impose change from Whitehall.
“So as the NHS develops the 10-year plan we will consider any proposals from the NHS on where legislation or current regulation might be creating barriers. And where we feel that action is required we will look to build the broadest possible consensus in Parliament – so we truly create an environment in which the NHS can get on with delivering the long-term plan.”
Health Service Journal understands the extra NHS funding includes a commitment that the health service “should not face additional pressures” because of demands from social care. It means there is an intention and commitment to find a way to better fund growing social care demand at a later date.
Yesterday Ms May said: “We also know we need to improve social care and continue to support prevention and public health, both for the benefits they bring in themselves and to relieve pressure on NHS care.
“So we will come forward with proposals to put social care on a more sustainable footing. And we will set out budgets for both social care and public health as part of the forthcoming spending review.”