Health secretary Alan Johnson mooted greater centralisation of adult social care to end the postcode lottery in provision, at a Labour conference fringe event yesterday.
Discussing the forthcoming green paper on long-term care and support, he suggested a “simple set of rules” to ensure that people could get the kind of service they needed wherever they lived.
One of the questions being considered as part of the Department of Health’s current public debate on the issue is whether councils’ role in funding and commissioning adult care in England should be reduced to achieve greater equality of access between areas.
DWP rumour dismissed
Giving control of social care to the Department for Work and Pensions was rumoured to be under consideration, but this was dismissed as unlikely by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.
Johnson told the meeting, organised by Mencap, Help the Aged and Scope, that the planned reforms to the funding of care were a “big leap in the dark” for the government.
He said prime minister Gordon Brown was “really committed to finding the solution” for adult social care. “I hope this is proved when the green paper comes out,” he added.
Alice Maynard, disability consultant, said campaigners risked “pussyfooting” around the question of whether general taxation should be raised to fund care.
“People have been too worried to talk about economics – they should start engaging with the argument,” she said.