Responding to the letter by the Health Secretary inviting MPs and peers to cross-party talks on social care, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“This is welcome news. For too long social care has been a political football in which no-one seems capable of scoring a goal. Instead, for years some of the most vulnerable people have been left to suffer in silence, badly let down by the political class.
“Now we need open minds and imagination and a genuine commitment from all sides to agree a way forward. That means tackling both the immediate crisis of poorly resourced services and workforce shortages, as well as the fundamental question of how we secure a set of long-term funding arrangements that will remove fear and address risk.
“For the NHS this is now mission critical – the health service cannot and will not deliver without social care reform – 92 per cent of health leaders identified this as a key priority for the new government.
“Of course, talks are just the start and they must not be an excuse for further prevarication. We will be looking for funding commitments in next week’s Budget and action in the forthcoming spending review.”