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Number 10 says it ‘wants to make progress’ on social care funding after NHS boss sets one year deadline to fix crisis

Number 10 said social care funding was ‘one of the most complex issues that we face’.

2 min read

Number 10 has insisted it is aiming to “make progress” on fixing the country’s social care funding crisis after the boss of the National Health Service set a one-year deadline for resolving the issue.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson on Monday said the Government remained “committed to bringing forward a plan for social care” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a grim toll on the country’s care homes.

The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 66,000 people died in care homes in England and Wales between March 2 and June 12 this year — compared to just under 37,000 in the same period in 2019.

The Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has meanwhile estimated that adult social care providers face more than £6bn in extra costs because of the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme this weekend, NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens marked the 72nd birthday of the health service by declaring now was “the moment” to fix long-running social care funding 

He said: “I would hope by the time we are sitting down this time next year on the 73rd birthday of the NHS that we have actually, as a country, been able to decisively answer the question of how are we going to fund and provide high-quality social care for my parents’ generation.”

Responding to that call on Monday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “We remain committed to bringing forward a plan for social care so everybody is treated with dignity and respect and nobody has to sell their home to sell their care.”

In March, Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to MPs announcing plans for cross-party talks on long-term funding of the social care sector. 

Reforms to the system have eluded successive governments — and Labour has urged ministers to come forward with its own set of proposals for scrutiny.

Number 10 said on Monday: “The Health Secretary has already sought views from across Parliament but it is one of the most complex issues that we face and it’s right that we take the time to develop a fair, sustainable solution. 

They added: “Care homes continue to get all the support that they need, with £3.2bn for pressures in adult social care are £600m for infection control.”

Asked for an update on those talks, which were proposed just weeks before the coronavirus lockdown began, the spokesperson said: “The Health Secretary has sought views from Parliamentarians.“

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