Government announces plan for integration White Paper among plans to tackle social care and COVID-19 backlog
Highly anticipated after being promised in the 2019 Conservative manifesto, key changes announced by the Prime Minister include:
- A new UK-wide 1.25% health and social care levy on earned income from next April – in other words, the much-anticipated National Insurance increase, couched as a new levy due to the fact it will also be levied against pensioners.
- Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an additional £2.2 billion per year.
- From October 2023 no-one starting care will pay more than £80,000 over their lifetime for social care, and no one with assets less than £20,000 (up from £14,000) will have to make any contribution.
- Council-funded home help and care home places for the elderly and adults with disabilities will be offered to anyone with less than £100,000 in assets.
- Crucially, there will be a White Paper on integration presented later this year, which will look to outline how health and social care can work together.
- Separately, the Government announced an additional £5.4 billion this morning for the NHS COVID-19 response over the next 6 months, including £1 billion to help tackle backlogs, delivering routine surgery and treatments
The 1.25% levy is set to raise £36 billion over the next three years. However, all but £5.3 billion of this sum will be directed towards tackling the NHS COVID-19 backlog and will then be channelled towards social care after 2025.
What to expected next
“More detail is expected from the Government before the end of 2021, and with much work to come to tackle the NHS backlog and improve social care, the use of digital health technologies will only become more important. During the pandemic we have seen already the role digital has played in connecting public services and enabling a collaborative approach to support the most vulnerable in our society. We now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to get it right, learn lessons from the past year and put digital and users at the heart of social care. There are of course many questions left to be answered. At techUK, we will continue to work closely with members and stakeholders to ensure this is recognised in future plans.”
- Georgina Maratheftis, Head of Local Public Services at techUK
Our Ten Point Plan for Healthtech from February highlighted the need to support the integration of social care through digital transformation, recommending that a commission be established to audit the structure and digital maturity of the social care landscape, followed by a “target architecture” for care that will help to establish a roadmap for providers to identify what technology they need to implement.