Social Services: Care system `confused'

Click to follow
THE PROVISION of care to patients with both health and social needs is confused, inadequate and riven with inconsistencies, a committee of MPs reported yesterday.

The Commons Select Committee on Health condemned the present system under which the NHS provides healthcare while local councils look after social services. "Responsibilities are blurred, professionals face unnecessary problems and users and carers are suffering because of barriers created by structural division which is based on an ill-defined and arguably non- existent boundary," the MPs said.

The committee found evidence that people coming out of hospital faced a "constant battle" to find out what social service care was available. One stroke victim received no help at home for six months after leaving hospital - because she did not know who to ask. Terminal cancer victims who left hospitals to die sometimes had to wait almost a month before their needs were assessed. Radical reform was needed, the MPs said, adding: "We consider that the problems of collaboration between health and social services will not be properly resolved until there is an integrated health and social care system."