It has been delayed more times than we care to count and has been built up to almost biblical proportions. It promises to connect the dots between health and social care, allowing them to deliver their services more efficiently and cost effectively. This is the promise and the hope but the reality maybe completely different.
Regardless of which side of the coin you see the details falling on, the paper needs to arrive.
What could go wrong?
The paper may not match up to people’s expectations for one.
We are looking at the paper as a supplier who sees what is missing from the industry. We are assuming that it will contain a long term funding plan for social care that links in with the NHS. We may be completely incorrect and the paper may simply focus on social care, simply looking at the short term problems and providing a sticking plaster to cover these up.
We hope that this will not be the case. We hope that the government is not so short-sighted that it ignores the problem and leaves it for someone else. We wait with baited breath as to the fate of social care and hope that there are no more delays in the Green Paper’s sordid history. This is one paper that needs to be published sooner rather than later as to do otherwise is to continue harming the foundation of care in the UK.
The problem is that everyone knows the current situation is a time bomb, but there are no easy answers that will please everyone.
Deal or no deal
The word ‘Brexit’ has become synonymous with uncertainty and the UK as a whole. It is the product of a turbulent, long-term relationship and is a murky window that needs to be cleaned by the government. To see a clear, bright future we need to set the record straight and commit spending to social care, not wait until Brexit.
The fear here is that the government will use Brexit and the uncertainty to reduce the amount of funding given to social care. They will delay the report until March next year and then announce that with the uncertainty, the full funds originally promised cannot be provided. This would be a mistake and create a much greater problem for the country down the line. Yes. It may solve a short term funding promise for the current government and pass it over to the opposition to solve but it will leave so many in limbo.
When we reach the age of retirement, we want to know that we will be cared for. We don’t want to worry about how we may be left alone to struggle to even feed ourselves. This is not the dream but it is rapidly becoming the reality for many. Stress in retirement is unhealthy and can also lead to health problems that will come back to the NHS to solve, taking up more money and resources. With a little forward thinking we can prevent these issues before they arise and ensure a sure start for all.
Pay for it yourself
This idea has been floated recently and refers to proposals being looked into by the government for auto enrolment schemes. Under new plans, the government is looking into working with employers to develop auto enrolment schemes, similar to those seen within the current crop of pension schemes. You would pay into a national pot that would then be used to pay for your fees if needed and you would not be forced to sell the majority of your assets when you retire.
Following on from the introduction of auto enrolment pension schemes, the number of those saving for retirement has risen to 90%. This gives the government encouragement to develop a scheme such as this for care in your retirement.
The problem is that a scheme such as this would not pay back for at least ten years. It does not address those currently in care and those about to go into care. Funding is still required for the individuals struggling with their care and those about to go into care.
The situation cannot be left for future generations to solve.
Regardless of your thoughts on health and social care and the funding behind it, we are sure that you will agree with us. Enough is enough and this paper is needed sooner rather than later. People need to know where they stand and they need to plan for the future.
Will there be a tax for those over the age of 40? Will a hard Brexit mean that there is less money available for social care, with the majority of the funding being allocated towards the NHS?
Regardless of the question, we all know that the longer we wait, the worse it will be. People have been required to fend for themselves or rely on the kindness of others for too long. We should not have a social care system that relies on unpaid carers as its backbone.
Unfortunately, our bet is that the Green Paper will be delayed, but hope that we are wrong and we lose rather than the British public…