Charities frustrated over social care green paper delay

17 Dec 18

Charities have expressed disappointment over the government’s decision to delay the adult social care green paper once again.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care has told PF the much-anticipated green paper will be published at the “earliest opportunity” but conceded that this would not be until 2019.

The green paper was initially supposed to be published in the summer before being delayed until the autumn, to coincide with the NHS long-term plan. But now it is expected that both will be delayed until the new year.

A DHSC source told PF the NHS long-term plan was “likely” to be delayed until the new year.  

“We continue to work closely with the NHS in the run up to publication of the long-term plan,” they said.

The long-term plan will set out how the NHS in England will spend its extra £20.5bn announced in summer.

Commenting on the delay to the social care green paper’s release, Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “It’s hugely frustrating because we’ve already waited so long and what’s more, every day of delay makes the task of stabilising and reforming care that much harder, with more older and disabled people and their families let down.”

Heidi Travis, chief executive of the charity Sue Ryder, said the latest delay was “a real disappointment”.

She added: “Social care funding is an urgent issue and along with the realities of an ageing society, it is critical that we find a sustainable solution.

“It is quite simply unacceptable to have a social care system that is not effectively funded to meet people’s needs.”

Paul Edwards, director of clinical services at the charity Dementia UK, said: “The postponements of the green paper reflect a government refusing to wake up to the reality of a health and social care system in crisis. The document should provide an urgently needed joined-up approach between the health and social care sectors.

“Recurring calls to our [dementia helpline] from people facing the toughest cases of dementia show the widening gap between health and social care policies. They do not know who they can turn to at a time when the NHS and local authorities are at breaking point.”

The decision to produce the green paper was announced in November 2017.

The Local Government Association published its own green paper this summer outlining ways to tackle the social care funding gap. One recommendation was to charge a social care premium for over-40s.

A similar proposal was put forward by financial consultants Hymans Robertson earlier this month which suggested a 2.5% income tax on over-40s could raise up to £15bn every year.

In November, health secretary Matt Hancock told the Telegraph that he was “attracted to” the idea of an over-40s social care tax.

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