Government will not merge health and social care budgets for the present, minister says

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 19 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e527
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

The government is not planning to merge health and social care but has not ruled out the idea of pooled budgets “forever,” health minister Paul Burstow has said.

Mr Burstow told the health select committee there would be no “new grand design [or] structural merger,” and claimed reports that suggested this would happen were wrong.

Instead, there would be a continuation of reforms and new incentives to ensure services like care assessments were joined up better for patients, he said.

The minister was questioned by MPs on 17 January about integration, funding, and system reform in the final hearing of the committee’s inquiry into social care.

Committee chairman Stephen Dorrell (Conservative MP for Charnwood) asked the minister if it was now time to “bite the bullet of pooled sovereignty” …

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