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White paper greeted as welcome ‘first step’ to social care reform

Think-tank experts have described the People at the Heart of Care white paper for social care reform as a “first step towards much-needed change.”

Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said: “The proposals go further than the narrow focus we have seen so far on costs of care and protecting assets and set out a long-term vision but gaps still remain.”

In her think-piece, Curry asks about the total funding for the plan, which must fund the cap on costs and higher means-testing, as well as make care fees fairer, and support providers of care at risk of collapse.

Beyond the initial three years of the levy, it also heavily banks on the actions of future governments and the assumptions that funding raised can be diverted from the NHS to social care.

She said: ““There is a question about how thinly the funding committed to these proposals will be stretched.”

Lacking from the plan is any strategy to counteract the deepening workforce crisis, which has cost the sector 42,000 staff in the last six months.

She concluded: “Reform has been dodged for so long that we now find ourselves in a tough starting position. The white paper today cannot be another missed opportunity to address social care properly and provide real improvements for staff, carers and people who need support now and in the future.”

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