Scope of the inquiry
The Public Accounts Committee has regularly explored the relationship between health and social care. We have previously looked at government’s development of the adult social care workforce, and the Committee’s recent Report into local authority financial sustainability found that local governments were facing budgetary pressure because of the growing costs of social care.
In a recent report into the interface between health and social care, the National Audit Office found that financial pressure on the NHS and local government made it difficult for them to work together to transform services. Further, as local authorities and the NHS operate in different ways, it can be difficult for them to understand how they each make decisions and coordinate properly.
The National Audit Office also published a report looking at NHS vanguards, a programme to delivery savings by devising new care models and piloting them in 50 places. It found that the NHS spent some of the £2.2 billion set aside for vanguards on reducing hospital deficits. Although there are signs that vanguards are helping reduce emergency admissions and that vanguards will make £324 million in savings, the NAO found that it is hard to assess the performance of the programme overall.
The Committee will take evidence from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to explore how to improve the health and social care interface in a way that not only saves money, but gives a better experience for patients and those requiring care.