An overview of health and social care priorities from The King's Fund
The King's Fund has published a report assessing the current state of health and social care, and setting out the issues facing the current government.
The report summarises the impact of austerity on health and social care services. Both face challenges in terms of finances, performance, and people’s experience of care and support in social care. It also highlights the opportunity for an honest debate with the public about the future of our health and care system.
NHS finances and performance: highlighting the mismatch between demand and funding that is affecting standards of care, whilst also acknowledging that the NHS is still the best-performing health system among eleven countries analysed by the Commonwealth Fund. Growing workloads and staff shortages are placing pressures on the workforce and affecting morale, with Brexit having an impact on staff recruitment.
NHS reform: reporting that there has been good progress in areas where there has been a drive to integrate care around the needs of the patient (including primary and secondary care, physical and mental heatlh services, and health and social care). There will be challenges ahead to ensure that Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) deliver on their objectives to improve population health. Exceptional leadership will be needed to respond to the issues facing reform, although evidence suggests that it is becoming more difficult to fill leadership vacancies. Public satisfaction with general practice remains high, although findings show that people are finding it more difficult to get appointments and fewer GPs are choosing to undertake full-time clinical work. Reductions to public health funding may undermine the focus of many STPs to improve population health in order to reduce demand on the NHS.
Social care: finding that rising demand due to an ageing population, combined with reducing budgets, is resulting in a funding gap for adult social care services, estimated to be £2.1 billion by 2019/20. An increasing number of people are unable to access care and are having to draw on the support of family and friends to get by. Although the Care Quality Commission recently reported that the majority of adult social care services were providing good-quality care, more than one in five is still rated as either requiring improvement or inadequate.