NHS pays price for Boris Johnson’s social care inaction – The Yorkshire Post says

IT is the Queen’s Speech of 2015 that explains growing frustration over delays to social care reform. This was the legislative programme after David Cameron secured an unexpected Commons majority and saw a supposed commitment to “secure the future” of the NHS by “integrating healthcare and social care”.

Boris Johnson at the State Opening of Parliament,

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.

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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.

Social care has been left unreformed by successive governments.

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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