The government has once again delayed making a decision on social care policy. In his Spring Statement to the House of Commons, chancellor Philip Hammond said that a review of social care will come as part of a departmental spending review in the summer.
In the March 2017 Budget, the Government said it would publish a Green Paper on social care – making a manifesto commitment to it in that year’s subsequent General Election. Hammond then promised in 2018 he would shortly publish the green paper, which would include ‘difficult decisions’.
According to Age UK, the date of publishing has been delayed six times. It said that there are 1.4 million older people in the UK struggling without the help they need. And with the NHS losing £500 a minute as unsatisfactory levels of home care result in an overreliance on hospital care, this situation is quickly reaching breaking point.
The government’s decision to publish the NHS long-term plan without the social care green paper has been widely criticised by many.
George McNamara, Director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said: “It’s desperately disappointing and frustrating that the Government has yet again decided to kick the can of social care funding down the road. We are in the scandalous position where people are dying every day because they are not receiving the social care that meets their needs.
“The Government is focused on Brexit, and older people are suffering because social care is still being treated as a Cinderella service, not getting the care and attention it needs. The Government’s long term plan for the NHS will be ineffective until it addresses the crisis in social care funding, and part of resolving this crisis must be to release without further delay the long overdue social care Green Paper, for which we have been waiting for over two years.”