On publication of the government’s Integration White Paper, Kirsty Matthews, CEO of learning disability charity Hft said:
We welcome the government’s Integration White Paper which presents a genuine opportunity to align our health and social care systems and to create a more seamless experience for people accessing these vital services. Undoubtedly, integration could be transformative, but it is vital that health and social care are treated as equal partners for it to become a reality.
For integration to be a success, addressing comprehensive challenges within the social care system – such as strengthening the workforce, realising the full potential of technology and greater investment in community-based support – is another important prerequisite. With just £5.2bn of the Health and Social Care Levy – which totals £30.3bn – earmarked for social care reform over the next three years, at present it is hard to see how these challenges will be addressed, or how social care will be able to work effectively as part of an integrated system.
If the government are committed to delivering more personalised care, as set out in the White Paper, they must at the very least move away from medical language. Rather than referring to patients, they must recognise that individuals using social care are people who receive essential support with activities ranging from eating and washing to working and socialising.
Overall, we feel the announcement on integration is an important first step towards joined up health and care services which will promise better outcomes for everyone. We share the government’s aspirations and would do all we could to engage with our partners to deliver a future system where this is realised to the benefit of those we are here to support.
Notes to editors
Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.
Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.
For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk