This week the government released its plans for health and social care, an area in which previous governments over the past 20 years have consistently failed to deliver much needed reform.

The discussion has been dominated by how this will be paid for. And the answer we now know is via an increase in National Insurance. The planned 1.25% increase in National Insurance from next April will raise £36 billion over the following three years.

Of this 85%, or £30.6bn, will go to hospitals, while £2.5bn is earmarked for care home payments - which leaves £2.9bn for wider social care reform over those three years. This approximates to the average local authority in England and Wales receiving just £2m to £2.5m extra per year from April 2023 to March 2026.

While the 30-page plan released by the government mentions reform, it is woefully light on detail. Just four paragraphs address the crucial issue of preventative measures.

Most people who require care and support do not live in care homes.  The near exclusive focus on the acute end of the NHS and residential care is a major missed opportunity to tackle reform of our health and social care system. The only meaningful difference the majority of people will notice is that they are now paying more National Insurance. 

Sadly, for those doing their best to continue to live independently in their own homes, or those caring for someone, there is very little here to improve the quality of their daily lives. 

So, the wait for radical change that is needed goes on.

Photo by John Sekutowski on Unsplash