Key role of housing in health and care recognised in White Paper

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Our health system needs to be focussed more on keeping people healthy, well and independent, rather than waiting until they get ill. This delivers better outcomes for the health and care systems, saves money in the long-term and crucially, means that more people can enjoy a better quality of life.

The Integration and Innovation White Paper recognises that housing providers can play a key role in supporting people and keeping them well – and calls for them to be represented on local Integrated Care System Boards. This is particularly true of housing-with-care providers for older people. Extra Care and Retirement Community operators are already playing an important role in the social care system and are set to be one of the decisive growth areas in the coming decade.

NHS-social care integration, as planned for in the White Paper will inevitably require that announcements be made in the near future on social care reform itself. ARCO has previously called for this to include more thought on where and how care is delivered – particularly the role of housing.

As such ARCO is calling for more explicit recognition of the sector. Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO said:

“Health does not exist in a vacuum. Many factors including our lifestyles, access to support when we need it, physical activity, social activity and our physical environment play a big role.

“The Government is right therefore to identify that housing providers should be part of local ICS boards.

“This however is just a start – the UK’s housing and social care systems continue to have a blind spot about the extraordinary potential of the housing-with-care sector. Ministers need to take the lead on encouraging the growth of this sector and tackling the barriers to growth.

“If the health and care systems truly are to become more integrated and innovative then the major innovation represented by integrated housing and care can no longer be treated as an after thought.”

ARCO has identified a specific series of measures which need to be addressed to help the sector grow and is calling for a task force to drive these. Further details can be found here:

https://www.arcouk.org/resource/housing-with-care-task-force-overview

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