Health secretary Alan Johnson today placed a “radically revised system” of adult social care at the top of the Department of Health’s goals for the next decade.
He said the “crucial” debate on the future of adult social care must result in greater independence and control for people and “greater consistency of care” that was affordable to the taxpayer.
Speaking on the final day of the Labour Party conference, Johnson listed adult social care first in a list of five objectives for his department. He pledged to collect feedback from NHS patients over the next year, place greater emphasis on health prevention, and initiate a public awareness campaign on hospital infections.
Johnson also vowed to tackle health inequalities through “concerted efforts” to improve people’s life chances, linking this to other Labour initiatives including Sure Start and the minimum wage. He announced pilots of free healthy schools meals for all primary school pupils in at least two local authority areas.
He told the conference: “The future of our health service is the battleground for social justice. We have to take this fight to the Tories, every one of us. Because if we fail, we fail not just ourselves and our party but the poor, the disadvantaged and the sick who will be left behind in Cameron’s Britain.”