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27 July, 2020 Open access

Legacy of COVID-19 outbreak has shown that ‘radical rethink’ of social care is needed

Coalition of councils, health and care organisations and charities sets out seven principles that should underpin future reform of adult social care

The legacy of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has shown that a 'radical rethink' of social care is needed, a coalition of councils, health and care organisations and charities has said.

Pointing out that it is now a year since the Prime Minister promised to 'fix social care', the coalition - made up of 33 organisations including the Local Government Association (LGA), Alzheimer’s Society, NHS Confederation and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services - highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected older and more vulnerable people, and that the radical rethink of social care policy needed should take account of both the long-held issues facing the sector prior to the pandemic, and the lessons learnt during the current crisis.

Insisting that the government publishes its timetable for social care reform before the end of its summer recess, the coalition sets out seven principles that it believes should underpin that reform - 

Commenting on the proposals, Chair of the LGA Councillor James Jamieson said - 

'For too long we have been promised a plan to fix the social care crisis but people who use and work in these vital services are still waiting. The COVID-19 crisis has proved that we need a complete reset, not a restart, when it comes to the future of social care.

The pandemic has also served to highlight the incredibly valuable role of social care in its own right and why it is more important than ever before that we find a long-term and sustainable solution, so that people of all ages can live the life they want to lead.

These seven principles, which have support from a number of prominent organisations across the health and care sector, need to inform and underpin the Government’s thinking on the future of adult social care in this country.

Everyone who has been involved in dealing with the dreadful effects of this disease, including older people, unpaid carers, the most vulnerable and those who support them, deserve to know that the lessons learned will be used in shaping the future.

This should mean care and support is properly based around every individual, keeping them safe, well and as independent as possible, and in their own home and community for as long as possible.

We urge the Government and other parties to begin cross-party talks on the future of adult social care, so we can get on with the job of realising our shared ambition of supporting people to live the lives they want to lead.'

For more information see One year on from PM's pledge: social care needs a reset from local.gov.uk