'You can't fix NHS if you ignore social care', Jeremy Hunt tells LBC

14 May 2021, 14:34

By Tim Dodd

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tells LBC there should be Ofsted-style reviews into the performance of social care in England.

The conversation comes as MPs welcome a report by the Health and Social Care Committee into government reforms of social care, saying there is the potential to improve the care provided 'proper accountability mechanisms are put in place'.

Nick Ferrari began by asking Jeremy Hunt, who chairs the committee: "What do you mean by accountability mechanisms?"

Mr Hunt said: "The problem with these big reorganisations that the NHS seems to have every few years, is that they seem to be very internally focused, and you get new structures, new organisations, new quangos, but is it actually improving care for patients? And that's what really matters.

"If we're going to go ahead with this, let's make sure that they are assessed in a way that the public understand, and we can see the quality of care going up.

"I like the Ofsted system that CQC do for hospitals, which Ofsted use for schools - I'd like something like that and I'd like the public to know: is the quality of care in my area outstanding, good, requiring improvement or poor, and then we can do something about it."

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Nick pointed out that in a column Jeremy Hunt had '"accepted part of the blame", writing "I share part of the responsibility for the lack of progress as regards the social care bill".

He then asked Mr Hunt: "Why was there that lack of progress? How do you react to still [having] that lack of progress? And what sort of money are we talking about if we were to look at the Dilnot report?"

The Dilnot report from 2011 delivered recommendations on the future funding of care and support in England.

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Mr Hunt replied: "I had four winter crises in a row. Year after year. They were an absolute nightmare for the NHS and they were a nightmare for me to deal with.

"And I concluded that in the end, you won't fix the problems in the NHS if you ignore the social care system, for the very simple reason that all that will happen is, the most vulnerable patients will get exported from the social care system into our hospitals, and doctors won't discharge them and say 'we're not sending you home unless you have a decent care package because it wouldn't be safe to do so'. So you've got to look at both systems."

The Prime Minister has committed the Government to producing a 10-year plan later this year.