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An integrated health and social care system?

This week the Guardian revealed proposals from the Government to move social care functions under the control of the NHS. Social care reform has been a perpetual item on the political agenda, and Boris Johnson’s government has made much of their plans to push ahead with comprehensive reforms, which have only been talked up further due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The plans, which the paper showcased on Monday this week would increase the budget of the NHS to over £150bn, and take away responsibility from local authorities in favour of a more centralised model in the hopes of tackling some of the major problems that have consistently been identified in the social care sector.

But should the government be careful? The Lansley reforms of the NHS back during the Coalition years proved intensely controversial, though they were rather going the other way – decentralising instead of centralising. Already local authorities have started to object with social care being seen as a key responsibility (not to mention source of funding) for councils.

Although the Government has officially denied the plans, it would seem moves are already being made behind the scenes to finalise them with the appointment of David Cameron’s former policy chief Lady Cavendish as overseer. With proposals that over-40s may also start paying more tax to help tackle the costs of an aging population also in the offing, it would seem that a hotbed of controversial consultations might be heading our way…

About the Author

Stephen serves as the Institute’s Legal and Parliamentary Officer. Before joining the Institute Stephen studied Law at Bangor University and pursued a Masters’ degree in Aviation and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal. After this, he returned to London and was called to the bar in 2016 at the Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn, before deciding not to go into practice and move towards public policy work instead. Within the Institute, Stephen provides legal, political and policy analysis of UK and global current affairs of interest to consultors and consultees.

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