Care services minister Ivan Lewis has called for a “new settlement” on adult social care including a shift in resources from the NHS to the sector, a new funding system and further service user empowerment.
He made the call in an article for Labour Party think-tank Progress which called for prime minister Tony Blair’s successor – whom Lewis hopes will be chancellor Gordon Brown – to make adult care a political priority.
He said the government’s aim of shifting services towards prevention, set out in last year’s care services white paper required a transfer of resources from acute NHS provision to social care.
Ivan Lewis said that GP practice commissioning of social care, an idea laid out in the Department of Health’s recent commissioning framework for health and well-being should become mainstream, which would also entail current NHS resources being transferred to social care.
He also reiterated his commitment to rolling out individual budgets, which are currently being piloted, and for the need for a new funding settlement which balanced contributions to care from individuals, families and the state.
However, Lewis strongly suggested that he favoured the retention of means-testing and excluding some people from state funding, contrary to proposals in last year’s report on older people’s care by Sir Derek Wanless which said the state should make a minimum contribution to everyone.