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Government reforms ‘could improve care services for patients’

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Social care plans have been criticised Social care plans have been criticised

Proposals for reforms of the NHS and social care have the potential to improve the delivery of care services for patients, a report by the parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee has found.

The report suggests that that the creation of Integrated Care Systems throughout England has the potential to improve the delivery of care services for patients. It also calls for a more detailed framework that sets out the roles and responsibilities of both the NHS Body and the Health and Care Partnership, with clear lines of accountability to ensure success.

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‘We broadly support the proposed changes provided the new Integrated Care Systems are held accountable for the quality and safety of care delivered through transparent CQC assessments. But we remain concerned about glaring omissions, including the lack of social care reform, and a much-needed overhaul of workforce planning,’ said Jeremy Hunt MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee.

‘If such issues are addressed the government has an opportunity to deliver a post-pandemic watershed '1948 moment' for the health and care system, matching the significance of the year the NHS was founded. But if they are not, it will be a wasted opportunity to deliver the truly integrated care required by an ageing population.’

However, the plans for social care have come under fire. According to the report, the absence of a fully funded plan for social care has the potential to destabilise Integrated Care Systems and undermine their success, and without secure long term funding problems that have bedevilled the care sector for decades would not be resolved.

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‘Just days after the social care challenge was dropped again, this report should provide renewed urgency within government,’ said RCN Acting General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen.

‘As well as proper funding, health and social care alike urgently need a comprehensive workforce plan, for now and for the future. Social care struggles to recruit and retain nursing staff even more than the NHS. The law must be changed to ensure the responsibility stops with the Health Secretary who must be accountable for safe staffing of the whole health and care system.’

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