I am writing to you about Jan Birtwell’s letter of 2nd June 2016 and NHS England’s new Sustainability and Transformation Plan which envisages health and social care being provided together.
The integration of health and social care is of course a good idea. But NHS England has not stated how it will be paid for or where the money will come from.
This is a particularly important question because the Local Authority care home beds have mostly been closed down and the private providers are now struggling because of the Government’s cuts of up to 45 per cent in Local Government funding.
Is the Sustainability and Transformation Plan intended to stimulate the provision of new care home beds?
Or, since social care is currently means tested and the NHS is not, will some healthcare be re-named social care to pave the way to introducing charges?
It is hoped that the NHS will not be asked to pay for the social care beds because the cost of caring for someone elderly, frail, incontinent, deaf, poor in eyesight, and gradually dementing who needs to be kept clean, clothed, fed, watered and entertained is of the order of £1,100 per week which would bankrupt the NHS which is already in tightened financial straits.
To start such a plan when the supply of care home beds has been so cut suggests that NHS England is devoid of understanding of the problems.
They must say how the social care beds are going to be paid for, for us to make a start in understanding what they mean by this Sustainability and Transformation Plan which has so far attained an extremely bad reputation because it is basically financially incomprehensible to the taxpayer.