Let’s not forget about social care

Posted on 15/11/2016 by Tim Gilling. Tags: ,

With media attention so often focussed on NHS services, social care doesn’t always get the coverage it deserves. With councils’ social care budgets under pressure and with continuing financial deficits in the acute health sector, the capacity for local health and care systems to meet people’s needs in an integrated way is under strain. It is clear that no one organisation acting alone can find an easy solution. This is where local council scrutiny can play a valuable role, as delegates at our recent ‘understanding health and social care’ event discussed.

I’ve recently contributed some thoughts to the County Councils Network reportDelivering Adult Social Care in Challenging Times’ , providing some tips about how scrutiny can effectively engage with system leaders to add value to local plans for integration and new models of care. These thoughts are developed further in our publications ‘Piecing it Together’ published in 2015 and our forthcoming report ‘Solving the Puzzle’ to be published in a few weeks’ time.

Two other reports have emerged recently that support my view that social care scrutiny is becoming more important – last month the Care Quality Commission published its ‘State of Care’ report for 2016. The headline message from this is that the sustainability of the adult social care market is approaching a tipping point. The fragility of the adult social care market is now beginning to impact both on the people who rely on these services and on the performance of NHS care.

The second report, published earlier this week, is from Jane Martin, the Local Government Ombudsman about social care complaints, which have risen by 25% per cent over the past year. Of those complaints about home care which the Ombudsman investigated in detail, 65% were upheld, which is 7% higher than for adult social care complaints in total.

Social care is something we’ll be discussing at our forthcoming national health scrutiny forum taking place on 8th December – click here to book your place on this free event.

This links downloads the Adult Social Care in Challenging Times report in full

About the Author: Tim Gilling

Tim is a Director at the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny, leads on health and social care and oversees our work in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.