Not a day seems to go by without reading a news story about the current social care crisis. It is great that social care is (finally) getting the attention it deserves, following years of being overlooked, but although there is a belated acceptance that something needs to be done to stop the system collapsing, there does not seem to be consensus around the solution. In the spring Budget, the government announced £2 billion in additional funding for social care over the next three years, £1 billion of which is earmarked for 2017/18. As further details of what this will be spent on are yet to emerge, I believe there are key transformative areas which should be targeted.
SCIE launched a paper in November 2016, Total Transformation, which sets out five areas where transformation needs to take place, as part of a ‘Five Year Forward View for social care’:
- Helping all people and families to stay well, stay connected to others and stay strong
- Supporting people and families who need help to carry on living at home
- Enabling people to do enjoyable and meaningful things during the day, or look for work
- Developing new models of care for adults and older people who need support and also somewhere suitable to live
- Equipping people to regain independence following hospital or other forms of health care.
This paper has examples from three of these areas and provides supporting evidence to demonstrate how the schemes have delivered improved outcomes for individuals and reduced costs for commissioners. SCIE has relaunched this paper, following additional research and analysis by PPL, and it now includes schemes offering benefits in the other two areas. One example is the British Red Cross Support at Home scheme, which trains volunteers to support people with a minimum of two long-term conditions. It focuses on smoothing the process of settling back into a routine and helps people to regain their confidence and independence after a hospital admission.
The paper states that if just six schemes across these five areas of transformation were rolled out in Birmingham, net savings of £7.5m could be achieved by the Local Authority, and £1.8m by the NHS. Whilst this is not going to solve the crisis on its own, implementing social care initiatives that make real changes to people’s lives, as well as helping with financial sustainability, has to be the starting point.
This blog was written by Toby Irving, Senior Consultant at PPL.