‘Social care is in a state of crisis’ – Wirral MP
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/ ‘Social care is in a state of crisis’ – Wirral MP
19 Mar 2021
Margaret Greenwood MP has spoken out about the crisis in social care which she says is as a result of severe underfunding.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament on social care reform and the social care workforce, the Wirral West MP said that there is ‘very little detail about social care’ in the government’s recently published white paper on the future of health and social care and that the government has said it will bring forward separate proposals later in the year.
She highlighted how the government is proposing to make it easier for hospitals to discharge patients by removing the legal requirement to assess patients for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding and NHS Funded Nursing Care (NFC) before they are discharged from hospital.
Ministers are planning to put in place a legal framework for a ‘Discharge to Assess’ model whereby CHC and NFC assessments can take place after an individual has been discharged from acute care.
However, Ms Greenwood raised questions about the implications this could have on the millions of unpaid carers across the country who will very often be the ones taking over once their family member or friend has left hospital.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“There is very little detail about social care in the government’s recent white paper.
“Ministers say they will bring forward wider, separate proposals on social care reform later this year, but they have been promising action on this for a long time and have so far delivered nothing.
"It makes no sense for the government to put forward proposals for integrated health and care systems if they don't include detailed plans for social care.
"It is a matter of concern that the government wants to remove the legal requirement that patient assessments take place before someone is discharged from hospital.
“This would see patients being assessed for support such as NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding after they have been discharged from hospital, quite often when they are back in their own homes.
“This could have real implications for the millions of unpaid carers across the country who look after a relative or a friend.
“Carers UK estimated there are 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK, caring for an older, disabled or ill relative or friend. During the pandemic 78% of carers have reported an increase in the needs of the person they care for. We must look after unpaid carers and their wellbeing and the government must ensure their needs are fully taken into account.
"There are also concerns that the introduction of Integrated Care Systems on a statutory footing would lead to a stark postcode lottery since ICSs will have the power to increase provision of services in some areas and reduce them in others.
“It is vital that people are informed about what the government's proposals for health and social care will mean for patients, NHS and care staff and carers.
"I believe the government should halt the process and hold a full public consultation once all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.”