Shadow health secretary John Healey (pictured), speaking at the National Children and Adult Services Conference, has accused the government of “setting up local government to fail” on social care.
He told delegates: “My fear is that local government will get responsibilities without the power or resources to do the job that it wants it to do on social care. I fear this will be a recipe for fear and frustration in local government.”
He welcomed the £2bn injection of funding announced by chancellor George Osborne in the spending review in October before going on to say the government had only arrived at this figure by double counting funding in social care and the NHS.
Healey said he supported the independent commission on long-term care funding, but added that the absence of any funding to implement its recommendations included in the spending review announcement raised questions over its intentions to undertake reform.
He also attacked health secretary Andrew Lansley’s NHS White Paper reform plans. He said that all those in the sector were telling Lansley to slow down his plans and Healey said he hoped Lansley would listen.
The coalition government agreement published in the spring had promised no further top-down rearranging of the NHS. Healey quoted the agreement before saying: “In six short months the government is selling short on the promises that is made to the public.”
The resources and powers that the government chooses to give local authorities over public health as part of its NHS reforms will be the test of its commitment top social care, said Healey.
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