SOCIAL care in England could reportedly be taken over by the NHS – moving power away from local councils.
The merger would cause the health service’s budget to soar to £150billion, in proposals revealed by The Guardian.
Last night the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) denied it had any plans to combine the two services.
But according to the newspaper, the government has brought in David Cameron’s former policy chief Camilla Cavendish to finalise the plans.
The new set-up would be designed to make it easier for the elderly, vulnerable children, and disabled people to access the healthcare they need.
However, the move would take £22.5billion of annual funding away from councils – with local authorities likely to fight the decision.
Cavendish and Helen Whately at the DHSC are reportedly considering a plan where regional NHS bodies, called integrated care systems, commission care services.
Nigel Edwards, the chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, said: “We would have several concerns about a radical shift of powers away from local authorities to put the sector under the control of larger NHS bodies.
“These large areas might be a bit remote to really understand what’s going on in social care.”
The chairman of the Local Government Association Councillor James Manieson said: “Shifting responsibility for care is not the answer and will fail to address the fundamental issues that have pushed the system to breaking point.
“Social care deserves parity of funding and esteem with the NHS, not to be taken over.”
Last night a spokeswoman for the DHSC confirmed Baroness Camilla Cavendish had been contracted by DHSC to support the reform of the social care system alongside officials.
But the spokeswoman said there is “no foundation” to the claims there are plans to merge the NHS and social care sector
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL email@example.com