Local and national government can improve health and care

Matt Hancock, secretary of State for Health and Social Care spoke at the Local Government Association Annual Conference in Bournemouth about the positive impact local and national government can make by working together.

Hancock stated that local authorities should be involved with local services because that is the best way to make sure that all local needs are met and it is how democratic legitimacy is maintained.

Fixed social care is one of the largest challenges Britain faces as a society, and Hancock declared that it should have been fixed by now. He went on to say that they are committed to publishing the social green paper, but that the process has been held up by a delay in parliament and a lack of cross-party cooperation.

There will have to be a long-term financial solution for the funding of social care and the ideal solutions to these problems are cross-party. The lack of cross-party consensus is a major setback.

A large part of social care is the care for people as they age. But 50% of the rising cost is for the younger people who are still working, along with the cost of children’s social care. A long-term solution is needed that will make social care sustainable, and it will be beneficial if the solutions were cross-party. Direct taxpayer funding will be a vital part of the solution.

Over the last four years there has been an 11% growth in the funding for adult social care which includes £650 million that has been secured for this financial year. Securing a settlement for social care should be of high importance at the Spending Review as social care has not received the support it needs up until now.

A new sustainable long-term social care system is the only way the challenges that are faced are going to be solved. This system needs to be reliable and fair for all age groups.

First, the change to integrated care systems needs to be made. This will bring local authorities and the NHS to the same table so that they can decide on solutions and ideas together regarding local health services.

The focus needs to change from delivering improvements to organisations, to delivering services to individuals. Relationships between the NHS and local government are extremely important, along with successful implementation of ICS’ (Integrated Care Systems).

Second, health and wellbeing boards are of utmost importance when bringing together local authorities. Local areas need a single and strategic vision which will be brought about by NHS commissioners and representatives. This will identify needs and co-ordinate care.

Collaboration needs to be increased, and this happens by supporting health and wellbeing boards. This creates an opportunity to increase communication and the integration of services.

Third, after speaking to social care staff, specialist training is very important as there are many complicated needs that social care staff has to meet. New specialist content will be introduced into the Care Certificate to address the need for more training which will focus on helping people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Fourth, leadership needs to be improved so that care mangers can learn how to lead. £3 million will be made available so that care managers can access development and learning to improve their skills.

Another £3 million has been used to launch a recruitment campaign with the goal of attracting the right people into social care. Carers are extremely important, so it is vital to meet the growing demand for social care. But as important as carers are, families also play a crucial role.

So fifth, the Carers Innovations Fund is being increased from £0.5 to £5 million. These funds will assist those who have to work and look after a loved one. Dedicated employment rights for carers are also on the priority list. A fair and inclusive society will only be made possible if people who have caring responsibilities are supported and can balance both their professional and home lives.

Sixth, care users will have more control, and they want to help 5 million more people with personalised care within the next 10 years. People will have more say about their care, more control over their personal health, social care budgets, and be more connected to their community.

This will ensure that everyone will receive personalised care and be treated like an individual. Support will be increased on all levels. People will be able to access support, set their own goals, and get the right knowledge to learn skills that will help them to manage their wellbeing and health.

Finally, the technology inside the health and social care system will be overhauled. With the right technology, the NHS could save more lives and save time. 4G, 5G and broadband is vital in these changes, and Hancock says he will always support these technological advances.

The tech transformation will be implemented by NHSX which was launched this month. There have been many changes and advances already, like Alex helping vulnerable people to remember to take their medication. Audio monitoring systems in homes detect when someone needs help like in the case of a fall which could be life-saving.

NHSX will be the driving force for the mission to transform the technology in the NHS. These changes will alleviate the pressure on the NHS and help get the people the help they need without having to go to the hospital unnecessarily.

Hancock ended off by saying the following: “It’s local and national government working in partnership with each other, working in partnership with employers, and schools, the NHS, charities, communities, everyone who has a stake in society.

That’s how we move from dealing with the consequences of poor health to promoting the conditions for good health.

That’s how we help people live healthier, happier lives.

And that’s how, together, we build a Britain that’s there for everyone, where everyone can thrive, whoever they are and wherever they live”.

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