A quick browse through both Labour and Conservative manifestos – and what will the LibDems effort bring? – reveals a bandwagon rolling about personalisation and individual budgets. Here are some excerpts:
Labour – Everyone with a long-term condition, such as those with diabetes, will have the right to a care plan and an individual budget. [page 4:4]
Conservative – For people with a chronic illness or a long-term condition, we will provide access to a single budget that combines their health and social care funding, which they can tailor to their own needs. [page 48]
Very similar sentiments, but of the two, the explicit joined-upness of the Tory vision has the edge. Health and social care is – as MAC has repeatedly argued – a continuum for older people and those with long standing health problems. It is only a bureaucratic and funding anomaly that keeps them separated anyway, so it is wrong to perpetuate this divide in funding needs that stretch across the health and social care sectors. Unified – and adequate – health and social care budgets are required.
Momentum towards individual budgets is welcome, but it would be good to know someone had a map of where all of this might lead. We look to Third Sector organisations to respond to the manifestos with their views of what a personalised future with unified budgets across health and social care might look like.