Community and social care
The inter-relationship between social care and healthcare is being recognised like never before across the UK. With an ageing population, government policy-makers and doctors are turning their attentions towards planning for the future.
People don't realise until they need social care that it is not free at the point of delivery like healthcare.
People living longer means they are more likely to have more than one long-term condition. The BMA has warned that failings in the availability and quality of social care in some areas can cost the NHS in the form of avoidable hospital admissions and delayed discharges.
It can come as a surprise to some people that getting social care help with washing or preparing food at home is means-tested and not free of charge like healthcare costs.
BMA committee on community care chair Helena McKeown says: 'People don't realise until they need social care that it is not free at the point of delivery like healthcare. They are confused. You could find yourself not realising, after your loved one has had a big stroke, that you are not going to get them lifted in and out of bed, or get personal care or their washing of the body done, because it is not clear [to you] that is a social need instead of a health need.'
Care and support - around the nations
In Scotland, free personal care was made available to everyone aged 65 who has been assessed as needing it by their local authority in July 2002. Free nursing care is available to people of any age.
Read more about Free Personal and Nursing Care in Scotland
The Welsh Government has capped social care charges for people living at home at a maximum £50 a week. A new Social Services Bill is planned to enact proposals which suggests new fair and sustainable ways of funding social care.
Read more about Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action
Our view on social care
The BMA has welcomed debate surrounding the future of social care delivery and funding.
In August 2012, we published 'Principles for social care reform', which sets out the social care environment across the UK, our activity and a set of principles that should underline social care reform. We believe that care should be user-focused and personalised, consistent and transparent.
Reform should be evidence-based and focused on improving outcomes and closer integration of health and social care should be encouraged, where evidence shows it can be beneficial to patients and service users.
Care and Support Bill
A Draft Bill to modernise adult care and support in England was set out in the Queen's Speech in May 2012.
The Draft Bill specified what support people could expect from government to help plan, prepare and make informed choices about their care.
In our response to the Department of Health consultation on the Draft Care and Support Bill, we reflect on a number of issues, focusing substantively on the reform of the social care system and also changes to the delivery of medical education and the establishment of the Health Research Authority.
Read more about the Draft Care and Support Bill
Read the BMA's submission response