The report outlines recommendations on Government reform of the NHS and social care. It concluded that that the creation of Integrated Care Systems (ICS) throughout England has the potential to improve the delivery of care services for patients.
On social care, the Committee urges that new legislation should impose a duty on the Secretary of State to publish a 10-year plan with detailed costings, within 6 months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent.
Responding to the report, Imelda Redmond CBE, national director at Healthwatch England, said:
"Hundreds of thousands of people share their experiences with us every year, with social care being one of the most critical topic areas for the public. We are concerned that many people continue to struggle to access the care they need to live with the dignity which is integral to their health, whilst unpaid carers remain with no support in place.
"We share the Committee's disappointment regarding the absence of a fully funded long-term plan for social care in the white paper. A well-funded and strong social care sector is vital to the health of the nation and we look forward to the Government bringing forward its plans for reform later this year.
“We welcome the report's recommendation that the composition of any Integrated Care System board should include representatives with experience and expertise in the views and needs of patients. This step would help make sure that the views of the public are heard at every level of the NHS, which is a crucial step towards helping everyone get the care they need. To achieve this, however, the Bill needs to clearly set out an independent role for Healthwatch on the ICS governance boards, with a view to put in place and enhance accountability mechanisms.”
To read the report, click here.