Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt has announced that publication of the Government’s Green Paper on social care has been postponed until the autumn.
During a statement to the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Hunt said the Green Paper, which was due to be published this month, would be released in conjunction with the Government’s NHS plan.
The Secretary of State said health and social care provision were “two sides of the same coin” and it was not possible to have a plan for one without the other.
He added: “As part of the NHS plan we will review the current functioning and structure of the Better Care Fund to make sure it supports this. Whilst the long term funding profile of the social care system will not be settled until the spending review, we will publish the social care Green Paper ahead of that.
“However because we want to integrate plans for social care with the new NHS plan it does not make sense to publish it before the NHS plan has even been drafted so we now intend to publish the social care Green Paper in the autumn around the same time as the NHS plan.”
Mr Hunt’s announcement follows news this week that the Government was pumping an additional £20bn into the NHS while putting any additional social care funding on hold until 2020.
Martin Green, CEO of Care England, said: “The Government seems incapable of making any decisions when it comes to social care and they have spent years pushing this issue into the long grass.
“They are quite happy to announce an extra £20bn for the National Health Service, without any clear plan as to where it’s going to come from, yet they seem incapable of doing anything long term for social care. It is time the Government made decisions rather than ignoring the issues.”
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum, added: “The need for action on social care is now. We were promised a Green Paper on social care this summer, way before the current announcements on funding and a ten-year settlement for the NHS. The continual pushing back of this key policy agenda is a disservice to people who need and use services, and the wider community.”