Press release

Caring For Our Future

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Experts have been enlisted to help the government’s discussions on how to improve the care system in England.

Experts have been enlisted to help the Government’s discussions on how to improve the care system in England, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow announced today.

From Monday, the Caring for Our Future engagement exercise aims to pinpoint the priorities that this government needs to focus on to inform its formal plans to improve the care system. This follows on from the report on Commission on Funding of Care and Support. It aims to use the report as the basis for engagement as a key part of a wider care and support reform agenda.

To assist with this, the Department of Health has asked key leaders from the care and support community to help it to lead discussions on six broad themes:

**Quality **- Imelda Redmond (Carers UK)      

Personalisation of Care - Jeremy Hughes (Alzheimer’s Society)

Shaping local care services - Peter Hay (ADASS)

**Prevention **- Alex Fox (NAAPS)

**Integration (in partnership with the NHS Future Forum) **- Geoff Alltimes (Hammersmith and Fulham Council) and Dr Robert Varnam (Practising GP, Manchester)

Role of financial services - Nick Kirwan (ABI)

Paul Burstow said:

“Care services can make a profound difference to the day-to-day lives of millions of people in this country.

“I know the current care system needs to change. People tell me that it is unfair, confusing and unpopular, which is why we need to act and ensure the system is sustainable for the long term. 

“I want to see high-quality care that gives people choice in how their needs and ambitions are met, and helps them to live independent, active and healthy lives.”

It is estimated that within 20 years, the number of over 85s will double, and the number of people living with life-long disabilities is likely to grow too. People want to see higher quality care, with choice and control over the services they use.  With the mixture of greater expectation and greater demand on services, we must act to improve the system.

Collaborative working with a range of people and organisations involved in care and support, drawing upon the networks of expertise and experience that have developed over many years will be essential to this.

As part of Caring for Our Future, the government also wants to hear people’s views on the recommendations made by the Commission on Funding of Care and Support and how we should assess these proposals, including in relation to other potential priorities for improvement. Later in the autumn the government will ask the six discussion leaders to bring together the views they have gathered on support for the commission’s proposals, and the wider priorities for change.

Over the next three months, the department wants to hear the views of people who use care and support services - carers, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector, about how to improve the care and support system and what the priorities for change are.

Making changes to the care and support system will not be not simple.  There are no easy answers. The government recognises that these are difficult economic times, and will have to carefully weigh up different priorities and calls on resources before deciding how to act.

This engagement will help decide next steps and inform the Government’s White Paper, and progress report on funding reform, planned for spring 2012.

Notes to Editors:

1)     This engagement period follows on from the recent publications of two independent reports from the Law Commission on simplifying and modernising the social care legal framework, and the Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support.

2)     The detailed question under each broad heading are as follows:

Quality: how could we improve the quality of the care and how could we support the care workforce to do this?

Personalisation: how could we give people more choice and control over the care and support they use, and help them to make informed decisions?

Shaping local care services: how could we ensure there is a wide range of organisations that provide innovative and responsive care services and that respond to people’s needs and choices?**

**Prevention: **how could we support more effective prevention and early intervention to keep people independent and in good health for as long as possible?

Integration (in partnership with the NHS Future Forum): how could we build better connections locally between the NHS and other care services?

The role of the financial services: **what role could the financial services sector play in supporting care users, carers and their families?**

3)     further information on the engagement exercise can be found via the Department of Health’s website.

4)     This engagement exercise is not independent of Government. We want to co-produce this together with leaders in social care, who will co-lead workstreams with the Department of Health.

5)     We are working in partnership with the NHS Future Forum integrated working project to develop ‘one process’ for engagement on the integration challenge.  The outcome of the Forum’s work will be central to shaping our understanding of the relative priorities for action and in informing the development of the Care and Support White Paper planned for Spring 2012.