Rethink Mental Illness reaction to the new social care white paper

01 December 2021

The government set out plans for social care in a new white paper, titled 'People at the heart of care' unveiled today (1 December 2021).

Here's CEO Mark Winstanley giving our reaction to the white paper:

“As a vision for the future of social care provision, there are certainly aspects of the white paper which are commendable. In a debate that is often exclusively framed around social care for older people, the needs of working age adults who rely on social care, including people severely affected by mental illness and their carers, are often forgotten. For people living with mental illness, access to good quality social care can mean the difference between a fulfilling, independent life in their community and a revolving door of acute and costly care via the NHS. So we are pleased that the white paper recognises the role mental health social care plays in improving the quality of people’s lives. The white paper outlines the right aspirations for the future of the social care system over the next decade and much-needed action in key areas - new investment in supported housing is particularly welcome to aid recovery when people leave hospital.

“What the white paper is not, and what we need in addition to a ten-year plan, is an emergency road map to deliver us from the social care crisis, which has been fuelled by the pandemic. Many local authorities are struggling to make the numbers add up and simply do not have the resources to make ends meet. We must be honest that while there are leading lights and examples of positive practice across the country, the gap between where the system is now and the vision outlined in the paper is vast. Achieving this vision will be reliant on the funding, fine detail and action to turn these ambitions into reality for people living with severe mental illness.”