Tuesday, 9 October 2012

How soon is soon?

What can we learn from Jeremy Hunt’s speech today? There is so much to say on health, so much to say on social care, so many challenges ahead. And lurking in the background, Dilnot.

Mr. Hunt's statement about naming the guilty in care scandals, mid-Staffs, Winterboune View etc were striking - as was  his statement that quality of care was as important as good financial management. Of course,  given that most enquiries into abuse in care situations recommend that independent advocacy is an important safeguard against such abuse, it would have been nice to have had a mention, but that's another story. 

It would also have been good to hear about cultures of care, commissioning practices, out of sight placements, eligibility thresholds, mental health. And discussion  about social care seemed to focus almost exclusively on older people, something which ignores a large number of people who need or benefit from social care. And what about Dilnot?

I was surprised to hear Hunt state that the conservatives want to implement Dilnot “as soon as we are able” – it seems to give a sense of urgency. However it also leaves the door open to excuses, to barriers and to more delay. We need to move from "as soon as we are able" to "we are able to do it soon". 

The challenge now must be for the government to find ways to be able to do this soon. It must urgently manage away potential obstacles to implementation. It must also  to find ways to resource a social care that keeps the dignity of the individual central.

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