It is refreshing to hear a leading clinician talk of
“stacks of money” in the health service, in direct
contrast to severe shortfalls in social services.
The government’s primary care tsar, David
Colin-Thomé, did not stop there. He has called for a transfer
of funds from clinical work to social care, in language managers
understand: they won’t meet their targets otherwise.
Such a redistribution would benefit those who need social care
services. The danger is that the decision-making would not transfer
Instead, the government should increase the long-term funding
earmarked for social care. But this would contradict its stated
public spending plans. It is more likely that the NHS will be
expected to fund social care as required to meet government health
The vision of community care minister Stephen Ladyman for adult
services is rightly led by individuals’ experiences and
outcomes. That is a focus that was first articulated at the top of
the profession. Social care is streets ahead of the NHS in terms of
responding to individual need.
The government has refused to buy into that vision. If primary
care trusts come up with the cash, they should be buying into
social care, not just better performance ratings.