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Health and Social Care Levy: ‘A Significant Turning Point’

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, gave a speech at the ‘#FacingTheFuture Care England’ conference last week, on Wednesday 23rd March 2022.

Sajid Javid began by reflecting on the pandemic, which he described as ‘traumatic’ and ‘testing.’ He then explained how he spent his half term on the road, literally, on the Government’s ‘Road to Recovery’ tour. He said the greatest honour of all was meeting phenomenal staff across the health and social care sector. Mr Javid explained that the sector was very much ‘at a crossroads’ and that we are at ‘a point where we can no longer ignore the major choices that have loomed large for so long’ and he added that ‘neither can we kick them any further along the road.’

Following on from this, he then laid out the ’10-year vison for social care’, as well as the Health and Social Care Bill, which the Government promises will enable greater integration and better quality of care. Event delegates then heard that the 1st April will mark a ‘significant turning point’ with the introduction of the Health and Social Care Levy – something that the Government says will help to ‘put the sector on a sustainable financial footing for decades to come.’

The Health Secretary then outlined the following future investments for the sector:

  • £5.4bn in adult social care over the next three years, including:
  • £3.6bn to move towards paying providers a fairer rate for care and protecting people from extortionate and unpredictable care costs.
  • £1.7bn to improve the social care system.
  • ‘At least’ £500m to support the workforce.
  • £573m per year to fund the Disabled Facilities Grant, so people can make the practical adaptations to their homes that they need.

The Health Secretary was keen to inform event delegates the ’10-year vision’ is reflected across two recent White Papers: the ‘People at the Heart of Care’ White Paper and the Health and Social Care Integration White Paper. Also, that it’s a vision shared across Government or in the Health Secretary’s words, ‘It’s really a cross-government endeavour.’

Three key areas were put into focus: workforce, housing, and technology.

The sector must have been somewhat encouraged by the Health Secretary’s praise and recognition of the workforce. There was a lot of it. Put simply, Sajid Javid said the workforce is our ‘greatest asset’ and ‘social care is nothing without them.’ Although the sector has been encouraged by the health care secretary, there are still questions and challenges from key social care groups that want to understand if this will be the long term solution for the sector.