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Hunt announces seven principles to underpin social care Green Paper

Jeremy Hunt has outlined seven key principles that he says will guide the Department of Health and Social Care’s thinking ahead of the long awaited social care Green Paper.

He said that the “rotating cast” of care workers have no time to build the relationships that come with proper continuity of care.

Therefore, the first principle is quality - there should be a “relentless and unswerving focus on providing the highest standards of care,” the health and social care secretary explained.

The “unacceptable variations in quality and outcomes” seen between different services and in different parts of the country will be tackled.

In his speech yesterday, Hunt called the current health and social care system for those with complex needs “confusing and fragmented.”

The second key principle will be whole-person integrated care - ensuring that users of the social care system have a single plan covering all of their health and social care needs, based on a joint assessment by both systems.

Over the next two years joint health and social care assessments and plans will be piloted in Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

Greater control of the care that people receive is associated with better outcomes and lower costs, therefore, Hunt said that this is the third principle and that the three pilot areas will see every person with a joint care plan offered an integrated health hand care personal budget.

He explained: “Control also means transparency and access to reliable information. Where individuals and families have the necessary information to make informed choices, it usually drives quality up.”

Hunt paid tribute to the social care workforce, the fourth principle, who, although “often highly skilled, they are typically also the lowest paid.”

He said that “financial support must be matched with the recognition of value of this vital work and action on the wider set of challenges facing the workforce.”

He pledged to do more to promote social care as a career choice, where it has previously been given “too little value.”

The fifth principle aims to make the needs of carers central to the new social care strategy, explaining that it should be made easier to juggle working and caring responsibilities.

The sixth principle of the Green Paper will address ensuring a sustainable financial system for care, with a stable and vibrant market, and will include a debate with the public on the “challenges of sourcing additional social care funding.”

Hunt said: “We will therefore look at how the government can prime innovation in the market, develop the evidence for new models and services, and encourage new models of care provision to expand at scale.”

Hunt’s final principle underpinning the Green Paper is security. He called the current charging system for those with care needs “far from fair.”

“This is particularly true for families faced with the randomness and unpredictability of care, and the punitive consequences that can come from developing certain conditions over others.

“If you develop dementia and require long-term residential care, you are likely to have to use a significant chunk of your savings and the equity in your home to pay for that care. But if you require long-term treatment for cancer you won’t find anything like the same cost,” he explained.

Lord Porter, chair of the LGA, said that although the seven principles are what the LGA has long called for, the government should “resist the temptation for major system reform.”

“Councils know what good looks like and, in the Care Act, the sector has legislation that enjoys widespread support and sets out a vision we all aspire to – particularly the emphasis on prevention to help reduce or delay people developing care and support needs.

“What is missing is the funding to turn that vision into reality,” he added.

Hunt reaffirmed that the Green Paper would be published before the summer.

Top image: VM

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