Sixty Second Interview with Kathryn Hudson
By Amy Taylor
How can the green paper’s ambitions to invest in preventive services alongside care for people with acute needs, be delivered without extra funding?
The green paper is consultative. It sets out ideas for releasing funding to be re-invested in preventive services, and also recognises that we can deliver services better in some areas. We know that councils will want to manage some of the turbulent shift of services and that is why we think we need 10-15 years to achieve this. Following the consultation period we will develop specific plans for the future which can then be costed in more detail.
How will you ensure that NHS funding flows in to social care budgets to support investment in preventive services?
There are strong links between the focus of the white paper “Choosing Health” and “Independence, Wellbeing and Choice” which will assist us in focusing on the improvement of health and wellbeing in the community alongside the flexibilities already available to us. We are also investing £60 million in pilots for older people to encourage improved joint working between health and social care and to build the evidence base.
The green paper seeks views on giving people the right to request not to live in a residential home or nursing home. What is your response to criticisms from the care home sector that you are denying choice by not giving people a specific right to request to move into residential care as well?
We are very clear that the fundamental principle of the green paper is that people should have genuine choice about the way in which their needs are met. This specific consultation question does not remove their choice. By making the financial framework more transparent we are extending the information available to allow individuals to make an informed choice about the right care to meet their needs.
How do you envisage social workers changing into navigators of services as outlined in the green paper?
Social workers already work in a variety of settings and roles which require them to use their skills flexibly. The important change is a cultural one to ensure that they use their skills to facilitate and support the wishes of individuals in a creative way. I believe that social workers will welcome this opportunity.
The green paper says that the government expects local health and social care communities to work together with other voluntary and statutory agencies to jointly commission services. It states that how agencies do this is up to them. Do you think that most partners will choose to go down the virtual care trust route to achieve this?
We have not been prescriptive about the organisational arrangements for planning and commissioning services. Organisational structures should be appropriate for local needs and “virtual care trusts” could vary from one part of the country to another. We are concerned about the outcomes, not the structures.
Do you expect most directors of adult social services to take on responsibility for housing and adult education as well as adult services?
The draft guidance on the DASS role is also not prescriptive on the future responsibilities of the post apart from the adult social services responsibilities and the need to influence a wider agenda. Again the focus is on the outcomes rather than the precise structures. We welcome debate and discussion about the scope of the role and how it can contribute to the wider local government agenda
Would the adult vision survive a change in community care minister after the election?
The vision has been developed through wide consultation with people who use services and other stakeholders and has been warmly welcomed. Many of the ideas it contains are already being developed in some areas and will be embedded for the future.