RCN chief executive and general secretary Dr Peter Carter welcomed the Personal Care At Home Bill, which will ensure free personal care to those in greatest need and represents the first step towards setting up a National Care Service. However, he warned it was just ‘one piece of the jigsaw'.
‘Significant change relies on ministers seeing the bigger social care picture, which spans the often complicated relationship between hospitals, care homes and community services,' Dr Carter said.
‘Greater clarity is also needed on how the proposed National Care Service would be funded and how ‘highest needs' is defined.'
Steve Barnett, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, warned that the new service would only work if people understood what they were entitled to and the options for paying it.
‘There also needs to be clarity on the relative roles of both the NHS and local government and the long term funding for these proposals,' he added
Niall Dickson, chief executive of The King's Fund thinktank, said that while the government deserved credit for putting social care funding near the top of the political agenda it was ‘far from clear' how the National Care Service would work in practice.
The RCN will publish the results of a consultation with its members on the plans for a National Care Service next week.