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Social Care - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:23 pm on 7th December 2017.

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Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 2:23 pm, 7th December 2017

The noble Baroness put it beautifully in saying that the people we are talking about, who are on the receiving end of care, need to be treated with dignity and honour. I wholeheartedly agree with her.

I will separate integrated care into older people and working-age adults, as the noble Baroness said. On older people—and on health and care in general—I encourage her again to look at the five-year forward view and the plan for integration. In the recent Budget, we funded more than £200 million of capital programmes to help move a handful of local areas to what are called accountable care systems. That is where you look at the health of a population, which is quite an important step forward towards integrated care. I agree with her that that is not necessarily the everyday experience.

On disabled working-age adults, we may talk about the ageing and growing population but I believe that they are the fastest-growing group of care users. There is of course excellent work going on at the local authority level; I had the privilege many years ago to chair a special school in Wandsworth and saw the fantastic work it did with a peripatetic autism service there. But I know that there is huge variation, which is why the parallel programme of work that I talked about is so important.

Finally, the noble Baroness talked about hard-to-reach communities, and I could not agree more on that. One of the ways of reaching them is to engage with those who give voice to those communities. I would be delighted to discuss that with her, to make sure that we are listening to every voice we can as we move ahead.