1 Introduction |
1. The purpose of our inquiry has been to consider
the issues facing the future of social care, and to make recommendations
for consideration by the Government in advance of publication
of its White Paper on social care and update on funding. Although
this report will particularly focus on those people aged 65 and
older, many of our recommendations are equally relevant to services
for younger people who have a disability, and other people who
have long-term conditions.
2. A high proportion of people require care and support
at some point in their lives. Whilst families, neighbours, friends
and informal, unpaid carers are the main providers of this care,
many people will also need to turn to the formal social care system.
Unlike the services provided by the NHS, which are largely
provided free at the point of need, social care services are subject
to a means test and many people will be expected to pay for some
or all of their care and support. This comes as a shock to many.
It also serves to sustain the artificial distinction between health
and social care services, making joined-up, integrated care more
difficult to achieve.
3. A well-funded, fully integrated system of care,
support, health, housing and other services is essential, not
just to provide high quality support for individuals, carers and
families, but also to provide good value to the exchequer and
the tax payer. The aim of establishing such an integrated system
has long been an objective of successive governments. The existing,
fragmented systems are both difficult to use and expensive to
provide, and funding for them (which comes from a multiplicity
of sources, including local and national government spending programmes
as well as private sources) is coming under increasing pressure
from England's ageing population. The quality of services delivered
and the outcomes achieved are highly variable.
4. This report
will highlight several significant issues that the Committee has
identified from the substantial body of evidence received during
our inquiry. Our aim is to paint a picture of how a fully integrated
system could be achieved with more efficient use of resources
and the improved outcomes that it could deliver. The Committee
recommends that the Government respond to the issues we have raised
in its forthcoming White Paper and its proposed bill as well as
in its progress report on funding reform. The Committee plans
to revisit social care in the light of these documents, with a
view to reviewing the progress that has been made.
2 In 2010-11 there were 1.15 million people using the
care and support system provided by councils in England, and 2.12
million contacts from potential new clients, The NHS Information
Centre for Health and Social Care, Community Care Statistics:
Social Services Activity, England 2010-11, provisional release,
p 3 Back