NHS improvements must not be at the expense of social care, says health leader

NHS improvements cannot be at the expense of social care or the voluntary sector, a health service leader said today.

Jo Webber, deputy policy director of the NHS Confederation told a conference that local health leaders had to take account of the impact of redesigning services on social care.

NHS service redesigns are likely to become more prevalent given the government’s ambitions, laid out in the health and social care white paper, to shift services out of hospitals into the community.

But Webber said: “There’s no point in improving health services if you then worsen through knock-on effects social and third sector services.”

Her comments follow a number of cases in which NHS cuts have shunted costs on to social care.

Webber was speaking at a conference on practice-based commissioning, under which GP practices are given indicative budgets to buy services, hosted by Department of Health agency the Integrated Care Network.

She said the policy appeared to be “sitting in a health silo” with insufficient consideration of how GPs should work with social care staff on issues such as long-term conditions and health improvement.


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