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Adult social care reform white paper promises digitalisation drive

The government is to invest £150m to drive greater adoption of technology and achieve widespread digitisation across adult social care as part of its sector reform white paper.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) 'People at the Heart of Care' white paper sets a target of 80 per cent of social care providers having a digitised care record in place that can connect to a shared care record by March 2024, up from 40 per cent now.

The funding will also be used to protect the 20 per cent most vulnerable residents in care homes with technologies that prevent falls.

The use of technology such as acoustic monitoring could reduce falls by 20 per cent or more and avoid admissions to hospital, said DHSC.

“These technologies have shown additional benefits including better quality of sleep for care home residents through enabling more proactive and responsive care,” it added.

Other measures revealed in the white paper include:

  • At least £300m to integrate housing into local health and care strategies, with a focus on increasing the range of new supported housing options available. This will provide choice of alternative housing and support options.
  • At least £500m so the social care workforce have the right training and qualifications, and feel recognised and valued for their skills and commitment.
  • More than £70m to increase the support offer across adult social care to improve the delivery of care and support services, including assisting local authorities to better plan and develop the support and care options available.
  • A £30m Innovative Models of Care Programme to support local systems to build the culture and capability to embed into the mainstream innovative models of care. This will work for a changing population with more options for people that suit their needs and circumstances.

The white paper confirms the government's plans to invest an additional £5.4 billion in social care over the next three years through the new health and social care levy.

Around £3.6 billion will be earmarked for the £86,000 cap on care costs, with a further £1.7 billion allocated for changes to the wider social care system.

Care England chief executive Martin Green welcomed the white paper.

“This top level visionary white paper sets out the government’s direction of travel for the reform of adult social care," he said.

"Care England stands ready to help the government deliver this strategy by identifying and dismantling some of the barriers standing in the way of delivering this vision," he added.

"Delivering this white paper is going to be very difficult because of some of the major challenges facing the care sector, but we are all committed to starting on a journey that will deliver better outcomes for citizens and long-term sustainability for social care providers”.

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