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Next steps to put People at the Heart of Care

04 April 2023

The Government has published ‘The Next Steps to put People at the Heart of Care’. They say that people who receive care, staff and providers will benefit from a refreshed plan to bolster the adult social care workforce, speed up discharge from hospital and accelerate the use of technology in the sector over the next two years. The update builds on commitments outlined in the People at the Heart of Care white paper – published in December 2021.

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, comments:

Like many others working to reform social care, we are disappointed that the government’s plans for delivering long-term change within the social care sector have been considerably pared back. However, we expect the government’s next steps to move the system in the right direction, such as the extra funding to local authorities, digitising the sector, and workforce training and career development.

Kathryn Smith continues:

Reforming the system remains vital and urgent as a policy priority. We know from recently published data that people’s demand for social care continues to far exceed the supply available. That translates into a lot of unmet need in our local communities. Given today’s reality, how do we plan for the future of care?

SCIE Chief Executive Kathryn Smith also says:

One important way forward is expanding the supply of housing with care and support. We were pleased that the Older People’s Housing Taskforce has been re-confirmed in the Next Steps paper. Since we published our own research on housing with care and support (“A Place We Can Call Home”), we have called for no decision about care and support to be made without considering where people live. We look forward to contributing to the Taskforce’s work and shaping its recommendations.

Kathryn Smith continues:

We also look forward to hearing the details about the proposed innovation and improvement unit. Testing and evaluating good ideas for improving care and support is another necessary step forward. For these activities, ongoing collaboration with the social care sector will be essential. We urge the government to maintain a genuine commitment to co-production, with people who draw on care, their carers and local communities playing a central role in the unit’s work.

Social Care Institute for Excellence Chief Executive Kathryn Smith concludes:

SCIE still supports the ambition of the original White Paper, which offered a refreshing 10-year vision for reform. The paper was co-produced with the sector and firmly grounded in valuing the people who draw on care and their carers. By recognising the long-term trend towards more care at home and in the community, the paper’s original proposals offered genuine scope for transforming the future of care and supporting people to live their best lives. Whilst laying out its next steps, we encourage the government not to lose sight of its original vision.

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