This announcement is aimed at creating a more person-centred integrated care system, with health, social care, housing and other public services working together to provide better joined up care. This should enable more people to live healthy, fulfilled, independent and longer lives. To achieve this, it will require these services to work ever more closely together towards common aims.
The Better Care Fund (BCF) is one of the government’s national vehicles for driving health and social care integration. It requires clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local government to agree a joint plan, owned by the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB). These are joint plans for using pooled budgets to support this integration.
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how joint approaches to the wellbeing of people, between health, social care and the wider public sector can be effective even in the most difficult circumstances.
Given the ongoing pressures in systems, there will be minimal change to the BCF in 2021 to 2022. The 2021 to 2022 Better Care Fund policy framework aims to build on progress during the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening the integration of commissioning and delivery of services and delivering person-centred care, as well as continuing to support system recovery from the pandemic.
This announcement will mean bringing the health and the social care systems more closely together – so that people are cared for in the most appropriate place for their needs, whether at hospital, in care or at home.
It will also look to protect individuals and families against unpredictable and significant care costs. From October 2023, no eligible person starting adult social care will have to pay more than £86,000 for personal care over their lifetime.
A Health and Social Care Levy will be introduced to benefit the entire UK, with new funding to support health and social care services across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As people live longer and healthcare expenses continue to rise, the need for care provision becomes more of a “when” than an “if” situation. By having a strategy in place earlier, you’ll be better prepared for any tough financial, emotional and administrative decisions you and your loved ones may need to make. To find out what you can do, please contact us for more information.
Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) Honorary President, Lord Lipsey, recently secured a debate in the House of Lords on the role of the financial services sector in the funding of care costs. He discussed the possibilities of insurance companies developing their existing financial products, such as equity release and immediate care needs annuities, to meet costs when people are facing them - the dilemma being that no-one can know whether they may ever actually face costs such as residential care fees during their lifetime. He concluded: “I am not saying that it can but, properly promoted and properly advised, private financial products can do much to take the sting out of the care cost fiasco.”
As an accredited Later Life Adviser, I recently participated in a seminar presented by Barrister and SOLLA co-founder and joint Chair, Tish Hanifan, who looked at the implications of the latest proposals for individuals and their families and the situation for the wider social care sector. The session really helped me, and my fellow specialist Advisers in this field, to put the new proposals into context when advising clients on planning for funding possible costs of care.