Valerie questions Secretary of State for Health on proposed plan for social care


The House of Commons’ Health Select Committee, of which Valerie is a member, took evidence from the Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley MP as part of the Committee’s final evidence session before Recess on the Government’s recently released White Paper “Caring for our future: reforming care and support.”



Valerie said:



“The long awaited White Paper on the future of social care has now been published. The Commission for Care and Support, known as the Dilnot Commission, previously reviewed the funding system for care and support in England and published a series of recommendations in July 2011. The Government has said that they have adopted the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations in principal, but the White Paper contains no details of how social care will be funded.”  



“I am concerned that there is a lack of accountability of public money for social care.  There needs to be a robust system in place for local authorities to show that the money is being used for social care.  So far the Government has given the following funding for social care to local authorities:


-£1 billion in formula grant funding and £1 billion in NHS funding in 2014-2015, as noted in the Committee’s January 2012 Report on Public Expenditure

A one off payment of £150 million in 2011-2012 for people coming out of hospital

£100 million in funding allocated in 2013-2014 and £200 million allocated for 2014-2015 according to the White Paper

An additional £200 million for specialist housing for adults according to the White Paper. 


The Secretary of State confirmed that £2 billion in funding had been allocated for social care, but had no answer as to how his Department was ensuring that local authorities were spending this funding specifically on social care, particularly the £1 billion in grant funding which can be spent at the discretion of local authorities.  We need to know that this money is being spent on social care and not on other local authority services.”



“The Secretary of State also confirmed in evidence to me at the Committee that he would intervene if there is no significant provider for social care.  I raised the issue of the Manor Hospital in Walsall where there appeared to be providers who did not accept seriously mentally infirmed patients, leaving these patients in hospital.  I suggested to the Secretary of State that some of the money being allocated to local authorities may be used to make sure that there are sufficient providers which would ease the pressure on hospitals.”



Valerie added:



“There seems to be confusion in the Department of Health about integrated care trusts.  At a previous hearing Care Services Minister Paul Burstow told the Committee that integrated care was ‘an experiment that did not really get out of the lab.’  The Secretary of State confirmed to me that ‘there is a potential in the reform process for, if anything, an even a wider degree of integration.’ The Secretary of State’s comments suggest that integrated care trusts like Torbay Care Trust, which the Committee visited earlier this year, would be able continue as recommended by the Committee in its Report on Social Care published on 1 February 2012.  In Torbay, patients only have to make one phone call to access services.”


You can watch Valerie question the Secretary of State here.