Local Government and Social Care Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:00 pm on 24th April 2019.

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Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Vice-Chair, Conservative Party 3:00 pm, 24th April 2019

The hon. Gentleman knows a great deal about the subject, and I certainly think that the issue he mentions needs to be looked at, as does the wider system.

We need to look at how social care works in the context of the wider health system. We need integration; we have talked about integration for years, and it does happen, but we need a system that is simple enough for people—for relatives, in particular—to understand and navigate. We need to make sure that the different parts of the system work together. Public health must work with primary care, and our GPs must work well with our acute sector. We must all work together with one common purpose, which is to keep people out of hospital for longer. That is how to improve people’s quality of life and reduce the cost to the taxpayer.

I wish to mention a small but important example from my constituency: a doctors’ surgery called Whitestone Surgery. I declare an interest because I am a patient there. I mention Whitestone because it does fantastic work through its patient participation group and social prescribing. The patient cohort in the catchment area is made up of relatively older people, and many of the patients who go into the surgery are passported through to the PPG, which runs several activity streams, including an allotment, days out and the odd visit down the pub for a meal at lunchtime. All those sorts of activities are really improving the situation in the area by reducing social isolation and loneliness. As a result of that ongoing work, the surgery is seeing the prescription of a significantly lower amount of antidepressants and fewer people being diagnosed with dementia than at other surgeries with a similar patient cohort. Warwickshire County Council is considering the work at the surgery carefully with regard to expanding it throughout Warwickshire, and studies are also being undertaken to see what merit it has more widely. I am delighted that such important work is taking place in my area. It is a good example of what we need to do to support people.

Local government has done its bit and is doing its bit for the deficit, and we need to support local government going forward. Now that we have the public finances far more under control, we need to put more funding into other services, such as the police and schools. We also need to think about how funding is distributed, because currently the fairness is not there—for example, the people of Warwickshire get a raw deal compared with people in many metropolitan areas. We also need to think about the context and the effect that putting more money into public services has on our public finances. We need to think about the effect on what tax people need to pay. In the light of those things, the motion does not address the whole picture. It is based purely on a political slant and is not there to support the people whom everyone in this Chamber wants to support. I am afraid the motion is there just to score a few points, so I shall not support it.