Launch event: Diagnosis Critical – Launching an inquiry into health and social care in England
At the launch of the Centre’s first major report on health and social care in England, Diagnosis Critical: launching an inquiry into health and social care, we convened a group of policymakers and health experts to discuss the report’s findings, wider implications and potential areas to explore during our 12-month inquiry.
Four main takeaways that emerged from discussion the discussion yesterday, included:
- Politics is a perennial problem: Cross-party solutions are needed to increase tax revenues given changing demographics and demands for health and social care (e.g. taxing wealth and elderly). The question of what a progressive approach to health and social care reform should, or could, look like was a recurring theme.
- Place matters: How can CPP build on the report’s place-based analysis to provide a distinctive contribution to the live health and care reform debate? One of our key arguments in the report was the need to integrate mental, physical and public health services within wider social and economic policy. How might we achieve this, and what would this mean in terms of our key indicators of a successful modern healthcare system?
- Reform must follow funding: There was consensus about the fact that a decline in real terms spending on health and social care was having a deleterious impact on outcomes. More contested was the extent to which additional spending would increase quality in the absence of reform. How can we ensure extra funding can have greatest impact (e.g. capital vs. current spending, prioritisation of risk/crunch zones)?
- Workforce risks: Efforts to integrate health and social care have often been hampered by the differences between the two workforces. Common to both, however, are the issue of recruitment, retention, training and progression – particularly under the policy of austerity. Stringent immigration constraints post-Brexit could compound these and other issues associated with the current cap on annual medical places. Instead of forever looking at a shortage of sufficiently trained staff, how might we become (e.g.) a net exporter of world-class health and social care training?
Other interesting questions included how technology, innovation and learning might best shared to play a positive disruptive role, and what financial models in social care might not be suitable to ensure value for, or accountability to, patients or the taxpayer.
Diagnosis Critical is the first paper in CPP’s 12-month inquiry on health and social care in England. With the input of our Advisory Group and roundtable participants, we will continue to shape our research and engagement programme so that it complements the work of others and impacts upon live policy development.