Social care problems coming to a head in £4.3bn perfect storm

27 August 2015

Ian Blackhurst

For decades problems in social care have been on the horizon.

There are the long term health issues created by an ageing population. More people want to stay in their own home as long as possible, rather than in residential care. There is the bewildering plethora of GPs, social workers, specialists, voluntary sector workers who make our social care work, but may be not always in a way that the patient wants. Let’s not forget a social care funding gap estimated by some to be around £4.3 billion by the end of the decade.

It’s a perfect storm, with the patient, unfortunately, at its centre.

Creating order from this chaos was a founding principle of the Care Act. Putting the patient first – putting them in control of their social care – was another (admittedly the Care Act has been postponed for a couple of years, but it’s coming, and I know that because it – or something very like it – is needed). 

For Northgate Public Services, addressing the needs of patients and the Care Act meant creating NPS Integrated Care, a secure, online portal for all the agencies involved in supporting a person’s care, including GPs, the voluntary sector and housing providers. Via the portal, people will be able to take control and manage their own care needs.

South Gloucestershire Council has just become the first organisation to sign up for the online portal with a two year contract, with an option to extend a further two years.

Through the portal, up to 6,000 South Gloucestershire residents per year are expected to take greater control over their care by accessing self-assessment, advice, support planning and community care networks. The portal will also help them find out if they are entitled to funded care through online financial assessment, while reducing costs for the council through efficiency savings.

This is an important win for Northgate Public Services, and for South Gloucestershire Council, but above all it’s great for what it means for residents. People will be better able to use local services, ultimately helping them stay in their own home and enjoy the life they want for longer.

The reality is that we are going to see more and more need for Integrated Care and things like it. The need for efficiency savings, government legislation, and a (correct) focus on giving people the information they need to make the right social care choices for them, means we cannot keep kicking the social care can down the road any longer. 

You can read more about this – Council addresses UK’s £4.3bn ‘perfect storm’ in social care with first contract for NPS Integrated Care