By Debbie le Quesne

Funding for the future: A new collaboration

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Just when I think I’m getting a respite from the issues in the great funding debate the BBC go and spoil it – well, not really.

Wading into the Beeb’s headlines yesterday was Chris Ham from the King’s Fund, who said there should be a pooled resource for health and social care budgets as an ageing population meant more people had needs that spanned the two services.

The current system established after the Second World War has two distinct streams of care: Social care which is means tested and NHS care which is free at the point of use. It also has two funding streams.

We have head too many times that increased pressure on local authorities to make even more savings, couple with the prospect that central government will also cut their allocations, will eventually hit at our most vulnerable.

In 2016 we will see the cost of social care capped at £72,000 in an attempt to bring some limit to the public obligation to care, but I do not believe is will solve any of the fundamental problems of delivering sustainable, good quality care and financing it.

Now the King’s Fund is calling for a fundamental review to look at what was set in motion with the NHS in 1948 and how this great institution can work hand-in-glove alongside social care in the future.

Successive governments have failed to get this debate airborne but now says Lamb “the planets are aligned” for change.

To this end the Fund wants a radical single budget. But according to Minister Norman Lamb this is already being made to happen locally.

Where? I ask. What local authority is getting NHS ‘ring fenced’ cash to boulster social care?

Clearly closer integration is needed between NHS and social care as we address the demographic changes, but as ever, the devil will be in the detail.

Lamb said on the BBC interview said there should be a “fully-integrated system by 2018” and the government is to make announcements in September that would “really push the boundaries”.

We don’t know what’s coming next, but I bet it’s not going to be an easy pill to swallow.

Means testing for the NHS? Please help!


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