The ADASS 2019 Budget Survey was far from optimistic, citing the ‘escalating crisis’ in adult health and social care whilst praising Directors and teams for their ‘astonishing ingenuity and fortitude’.
Whilst not exactly ‘Grace under pressure’ – the modern life for strategic leaders is certainly one of resilience and innovation whilst never losing sight of the individual need for wellbeing. That is to be commended.
What sounds most telling is the acknowledgment that social care and the NHS have an interdependency. And it does, quite fundamentally. Some of our clients have taken that step towards integration, not just politically but economically, and formed Integrated Care systems. Again, with the individuals’ wellbeing first and foremost – using innovative solutions that have the agility to move with the markets and legislation as change occurs, almost in real-time.
You get a sense that Integration, however, is a means to an end: a reluctant response to the funding shortfall in health and social care.
ADASS again brings up skills shortages. It is worth also noting that there is no defined framework within which adequate, sustainable, qualified care provision can be accessed ‘on-demand’, in order to meet the outcomes of the individual. Integrated or not.
Hot on the heels of the ADASS report, media reports appeared stating that Councils were ‘in the dark’ about future funding ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48827100 ) and yesterday it was the turn of the Conservative Leadership candidates to use the crisis as a means of leverage, both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt talking up the importance of bringing forward plans to improve the adult social care system in this country ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-48855645) )
Indeed, ADASS’ Survey’s analysis of sustainable solutions to funding revealed probably the number one culprit - namely the Green Paper (which, among our strategic leadership clientele, is often referred to now as ‘The Bloody Green Paper’).
So exasperated has the LGA become, that it has challenged the government to set a 10 week deadline to publish its Green Paper (https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/councils-set-government-ten-week-deadline-publish-much-delayed-social-care-green-paper ) - to coincide with its own Annual Conference this week.
Let's just stop and think about this paper for a moment.
We think Health and Social care has to stop being a news release or a piece of political leverage because, despite 12 white papers, green papers and consultations since 1998 - along with 5 independent reviews and commissions – there is still no agreed, common national standard for social care. Everyone knows this must stop.
It is a highly complex issue which, as commentators in the news links above say, can be simply fixed with funding after years of austerity.
We’d conclude by wishing all concerned not to make this a political argument – and urging those strategic leaders to deploy agile, innovative solutions, as a means of addressing practicalities of integration and funding today – and for the future, whatever the paper will say.
ADASS Budget Survey