Intended for healthcare professionals


The future of social care

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 18 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l252
  1. Chris Ham, former chief executive of King’s Fund
  1. Solihull, UK
  1. chrisham01{at}

Fundamental changes are needed to establish a sustainable system

The long term plan for the NHS sets out an ambitious and wide ranging agenda for improving the health and care of the population of England. Delivering this agenda depends critically on tackling growing staff shortages within the NHS and on the government’s future decisions on the education and training budget and funding for public health.

Equally important is what happens to social care. The centrepiece of the plan is a commitment to invest more in services in the community to moderate rising demand for hospital care. General practices will be expected to work together in primary care networks and with community health and social care staff. The aspiration is that integrated health and social care teams will respond rapidly to crises and enable more people to be cared for at home rather than be admitted to hospital or a care home.


The obvious challenge is how to make this happen in the face of rising demand from a growing and ageing population …

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