Responding to Shadow Care Minister Liz Kendall’s speech on joining up health and social care, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:
“It is hard to argue with the principle of achieving better joined up health and social care services. With the population living longer and a growing number of people living with long-term conditions, it makes sense that they will need lots of different services which work together smoothly.
“But the assumption that joining up health and social care will save the NHS money in the short term is over-optimistic. As we have previously shown, reducing hospital admissions takes time. And in the short-term properly integrating health and social care may actually cost more.
Even if joined up care does succeed in reducing admissions over time, money can only be saved when the NHS has actually cut staff, equipment and buildings. So realising any potential savings is a long - and politically uncomfortable - game.
Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive, Nuffield Trust
“With recent ideas to raise more NHS funding ruled out by Labour, Liz Kendall states that ‘we need big reforms, not big spending’. But the NHS is heading for a funding crisis this year or next and social care has been cut to the bone. It is simply too late to expect reforms of the kind she describes to solve the immediate problems facing health and social care.”