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More than two years on from the Care Act, progress is ‘too slow’ - says British Red Cross

British Red Cross

2 min read

New report by the British Red Cross reveals that local authorities are struggling to meet their obligations to prevent, reduce, or delay the need for care as set out in the Care Act 2014.

Local authorities are struggling to meet their obligations to prevent, reduce, or delay the need for care as set out in the Care Act 2014, according to a new report published by the Red Cross today. Government ambitions to fully integrate health and social care are also lagging behind.

There are some positive examples of change on a local level and even some pockets of excellence, suggesting there is a real willingness to change the way the system works. However, this is not happening at the scale and pace needed for true transformation.

The report, Prevention in Action 2017, finds that more than two years on since both the Care Act and NHS Five Year Forward View came into force our system still focuses on reacting to crises rather than preventing them.

Local health and social care decision makers across the board have vocalised the difficulty in investing in preventative care and support with such stretched finances. In fact, local authority prevention budgets have continued to reduce since the prevention agenda was enshrined in law. The fact that prevention has also been identified as the most important way to save money by adult social care directors makes this especially frustrating.

The research also shows there is no consistent understanding of exactly what ‘integration’ is and how to put it into action, despite Government plans for full health and social care integration by 2020. It seems there are different interpretations of health and social care integration as well as levels of ambition across England, with some areas integrating budgets and others simply collaborating better.

Ahead of the party conferences the British Red Cross is calling on the Government to commit to reassessing the resources required to implement the duties outlined by the Care Act 2014 and exploring what is needed to make prevention and integration work in practice.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said:

“It is concerning that spending on preventative care has gone down at a point when local authorities should be scaling up. The Red Cross is concerned that intentions to fully integrate health and social care might remain a mere aspiration too.  

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