Undoing the NHS market a necessary step, but absence of a plan for social care disappointing

Commenting on the publication yesterday (Thursday) of the health and social care white paper, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“Scaling back the damaging internal market that forces the NHS to compete against itself and the private sector can’t happen soon enough.

“Eight years ago, the then government was warned its changes wouldn’t work and would tie the NHS up in needless competition and contract drafting. Yet ministers carried on regardless.

“Today’s proposals are at least an admission they got that wrong and the start of a process to undo their costly mistakes.

“But the most disappointing element is what’s missing. The pandemic has laid bare the extent of the social care crisis, yet the sector must now wait many more months before it receives government attention.

“Politicians have talked about integrating health and social care for years. But that can’t happen while care is in a state of permanent crisis.

“A well-funded national care service that mirrors the NHS is needed now. That must be the government’s priority.”

South East head of health Simon Bolton said:

“While UNISON members in the NHS continue to work on the frontline of the pandemic, the timing of this proposed overhaul seems somewhat ill-considered.

“What is most disappointing though, is that there is no detail at all on social care.

“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the broken care system, and UNISON has been calling for a national care service since long before the tragedy of COVID-19. The government must prioritise a national care system if it is to truly integrate health & social care.”