Now it should be noted that this undertaking became sidetracked, and then overwhelmed, by Brexit. But Boris Johnson did indicate, on the day that he became Prime Minister, that he had “a clear plan” to reform the social care and, nearly two years later, families are none the wiser about its contents or even its actual existence.
And while this Queen’s Speech signalled a desire to bring forward proposals to reform social care as part of a wider package of NHS reforms, there still appears to be nothing definitive.
In some respects, this is understandable – how to fund future care, and cap costs, is, arguably, one of the toughest policy decisions of all and protecting the public from Covid had to take precedence. What is perturbing, however, is the Government’s reluctance to initiate a debate on reforms in the hope of building a wider policy consensus – no overtures appear to have been made to Labour.
And Mr Johnson needs to remember this. His extra money to support hospitals will be squandered without an overhaul of community care policy and provision.
Why? It’s three times more expensive to care for an elderly, or vulnerable, person in hospital than a care home. That is why the PM – and the country – cannot afford to keep delaying reform to this sector; integrated care is now even more urgent than it was way back in 2015.
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