Report probes England’s health and social care future

An interim report into the future of England’s health and social care has been published by an independent Commission established by the King’s Fund.

The Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England released the report, which calls for the current system to be replaced with one in which healthcare is provided with no charge through the NHS.

It also calls for social care to be delivered and funded in part by local councils, but also in the most part through self-funders.

Social care has been hindered over the years as a result of drastic underfunding, the report says, arguing that the only way to address this issue is to facilitate an effective merger between health and social care structures. This would then be accompanied by a single “ring fenced budget”, the report added.

The Commission made mention of a number of recent estimates from the Office of Budget Responsibility which revealed that health, social care and pensions could need almost 50 per cent of public spending by the year 2062/63. As a result of this worrying prediction, the report says that “hard choices” simply must be made.

Other elements addressed in the report include proposals to investigate the affordability issue – with suggestions including new NHS charges for GP appointments or hospital stays, or a new health insurance market.