Hancock told to ‘grasp the social care challenge’

NHS Confederation leaders have written to new health and social care secretary Matt Hancock urging him to create integrated services as well as introduce new technology and models of care in the community.

NHS Confederation chair Stephen Dorrell, a former health secretary, and chief executive Niall Dickson are calling for a joint plan that covers both health and care.

‘We do not need an NHS plan, we need a health and care plan. The current system is fragmented, but can be united behind a set of common priorities,’ the letter says.

It adds: ‘We hope you will grasp the social care challenge – this will mean publishing the promised social care green paper soon, with realistic options that will address the current and future funding challenge.

‘The case for short-term funding to lift the immediate pressures on social care is also overwhelming.’

Dorrell, who is also chair of LaingBuisson, and Dickson say that a long-term plan can shape a new and different health and care system.

‘We believe the time is now right to set out a national vision. This would provide a set of sensible parameters for the development of local health and care systems, while allowing local discretion given the different circumstances facing communities across the country.

‘As part of that we need to consider what legislative change is required to create structures and incentives that put users and patients at the heart of the system, and holds those who provide and those who commission services to account.’

The two-page letter also points out that the future funding arrangements for social care, public health, staff training and capital are ‘unfinished business’.

Hancock became the health and social care secretary this week after Jeremy Hunt moved to the foreign office. The government plans to publish its green paper in autumn.