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By Debbie le Quesne

Lamb’s attempt to break the Dilnot inertia

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Care minister Norman Lamb appears to have grasped the nettle and is talking of having to “do Dilnot”.

He has promised, in a report on the Local Government Chronicle website this morning, a “significant breakthrough” in the government’s plan to introduce a cap on social care.

Mr Lamb outlined a two-year timescale for introducing the key Dilnot proposal at a private meeting with councillors at the National Children’s and Adults’ Services Conference in Eastbourne last week.

This is the first time a minister has indicated publicly a deadline for the introduction of the social care cap, recommended by economist Andrew Dilnot.

Is this the first sign of government leadership we have seen in the Dilnot Debate? I think so.

He is quoted as saying: “My personal view is that we just have to get on and do Dilnot. We could achieve quite a significant breakthrough in the next two years.”

Mr Lamb also said he thought the government should “legislate for the principle of doing it” soon, before the details, such as the level of the cap, had been decided. Hmm, this is where it’s getting sticky, I fear.

Mr Lamb’s comments already seem to have sparked action with Conservative-controlled Kent County Council launching a drive to get Dilnot’s recommendations implemented by 2015.

“The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, needs to put the wheels in motion on this report,” Paul Carter, the leader of the council said on a blog.

 “With every day, week and month that goes by, the pressure is building on our social care system, which is no longer sustainable,” the blog adds.

Already Mr Lamb has hinted that the Dilnot cap, including its level, could differ from the original proposal. Oh dear . . . is it all unraveling now?

 “We’ve got to get to a version of Dilnot and we need to make a decision soon to proceed,” the Chronicle website reported.

While the news that there seems to be an attempt to break the ministerial inertia the Dilnot proposals have caused, I’m still puzzled. It appears we are now moving (good). But the direction is still unclear (oh dear).

There’ll be plenty of talking on pension-related funding of social care, I’m sure as well as other Dilnot proposals before the plans become reality.

In the meantime I have to console myself with the knowledge there is a growing “culture of cooperation” across the health and social care regimes – the latest buzz phrase to paper over the very obvious cracks in any long-term strategy.

The cooperation push is being driven by Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, though I think he may well be distracted at present as he has ordered an independent review into how 5,000 patients were sectioned in the last decade without proper approval.

Mr Hunt said he would have to put through “emergency retrospective legislation” after it was found that in four areas of NHS – Yorkshire and Humberside, north east, East Midlands and West Midlands – “2,000 doctors were not properly approved, and that they have participated in the detention of between 4,000 and 5,000 current patients”, according to today’s Guardian.

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Written by debbielq

October 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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