Should there be a single health and social care budget?

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Ministers suggest pooling budgets for a united fund

Politicians are raising support for joining NHS and social care funding to create a single budget, with open support from Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb.

Mr Lamb, who is urging this idea to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, told the HSJ “It doesn’t make sense to have two separate budgets in a local area, two organisations doing the commissioning. We should end the disputes about who pays for care. The whole spectrum of care, from the social end to the acute end, is surely interrelated.”

One budget

Mr Burnham is also keen to pool resources, as he advocates “full integration”  of health and social care services, implying “a single service and single budget.”  Despite believing in this scheme, Mr Burnham also comments that such a change would not be easy, as creating a service fit for the 21st century would be “a ten year journey.” 

Mr Lamb agrees by saying “I would envisage that one may want to set a date, three or four years hence, when you would say ‘by this date we will pool the whole budget.’ Set an end point but then allow different models to develop locally.”