The social care green paper is now set to include proposals for younger adults, after the government previously said it would focus solely on support for older people, it has been revealed.
Speaking at the Local Government Association conference yesterday, Jonathan Marron, interim director general for community and social care at the Department of Health & Social Care, said younger adults with disabilities had not been sufficiently considered in discussions despite national spending on support for this group outweighing care for older people.
The government previously said the system of support for younger with disabilities would be considered separately to reform proposals on care for older people in the green paper, which has been subject to delays and is now due to be published in the autumn.
Mr Marron said the issue of support for younger age adults had been “difficult” as “the voice of the NHS and hospital care” and the question of how to create a sustainable system for looking after older people “dominate” the agenda. He also implied the forthcoming proposals would look at funding before the introduction of reforms.
He said: “We simply do talk enough about what do you do about working age adults when actually the state spends more money looking after them than older people.
“It is a group we do not talk about enough and we are expecting our proposals in the green paper. [These will cover] funding for social care in the short term, how we might work to improve quality and the integration with healthcare.”
When pressed on whether the two previously separate work streams how now been merged, Mr Marron added: “As you know, we haven’t actually published our green paper but I am expecting the green paper will address the kind of issues that will support a better deal for younger adults.”
Earlier at a breakout session at the conference, Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie warned that the health service has “no future” without the role of local government being “central” to the proposed 10-year plan for the NHS.
He said influencing people’s lifestyle choices is the only way to improve the economy and address inequalities as 40% of illness is preventable, adding enabling people with conditions to live in their own homes is key to NHS sustainability.
Mr Selbie said: “Improving health is about much more than what happens in the local hospital. This is not to say the NHS doesn’t matter, it’s just it’s not all that matters and it actually doesn’t matter that much to the duty [to improve health].
“There is no future for the health service without [local government]. It cannot be done. This is not theoretical, emotional or ethical, it is just how it is. We cannot improve the health of the people and improve the economy of this country without addressing two sides of the same coin. They are inseparable. You are not ‘a nice to have’ in this, you are central to it.”
He said how the £20bn funding boost for the NHS to coincide with its 70th anniversary is spent “is the only game in town that is worth having a fight over”.
“My line to LGA, to ministers, the secretary of state [for health], all of government is there is no NHS plan that doesn’t have prevention at the heart of it and there is no NHS plan that doesn’t have local government in there leading it.”