The Queen’s Speech has promised to bring forward proposals to ‘reform adult social care’ in England but experts have criticised a lack of concrete proposals such as on the decline of nurses in the sector.
The speech, which set out policies from Boris Johnson’s government in Westminster this morning, pledged to ‘support and strengthen’ the NHS to enable it to ‘deliver the highest quality care’.
New laws will also be taken forward to help implement the Long Term Plan in England and the Government will establish an independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents, the Queen said during the speech.
Social care ‘on its knees’
Nuffield Trust chief economist Professor John Appleby said the organisation was ‘surprised and disappointed to see that the Queen’s Speech provided no concrete proposals for truly reforming adult social care in England.’
He said he hoped the Government would publish plans for a ‘comprehensive and fair’ social care system, which he said is ‘on its knees and currently unable to meet the urgent needs of thousands of vulnerable and elderly people in this country.’
Meanwhile, Richard Murray, chief executive of The King’s Fund, welcomed the Government’s planned proposals around social care reform but echoed worries over whether the proposals would be enough in action.
He said: ‘The adult social care system is failing the people who rely on it, with high levels of unmet need and providers struggling to deliver the quality of care that vulnerable people have a right to expect.
‘While we welcome the commitment to bring forward proposals to reform adult social care, it’s time for the government to stop just saying they will fix it and to show us how they plan to do so. Any meaningful future reform also needs to include working age adults, who account for half of social care spending.’
New laws must include ‘workforce’
Chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Dame Donna Kinnair agreed that ‘dire levels of unmet need’ would continue if the proposals brought forward around social care do not cover the ‘fundamentals’.
She explained: ‘The litmus test is whether it includes a long-term funding settlement based on needs, sufficient funding for the workforce and clear actions to reverse the decline in registered nurses working in social care.’
Dame Donna said she welcomed and eagerly awaited proposals on the plan to bring forward proposals to ‘support and strengthen’ the NHS.
However, on the new laws to support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan, she warned: ‘If any proposals are to achieve the best for services and their nursing staff, they must include a commitment to introduce clear roles, responsibilities and accountability for workforce planning and supply.’