Responding to news that the £3.8bn NHS Better Care Fund policy has “been delayed after a damning Whitehall review”, Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said:
“Ministers have built up the Better Care Fund as the answer to the care crisis.
“We have warned that the plans won't address the issues faced by older and disabled people.
“Too many people that need support to get up, get dressed and get out of the house do not get the care they need.
"Chronic underfunding and year-on-year rationing of care have left the system on its knees.
“Earmarking NHS cash for care was a bold move to stimulate innovative ways of working.
“But for the Better Care Fund to live up to the billing , we need to see a commitment to serious, on-going investment and a strong focus on preventing people becoming isolated and slipping into crisis.
“The Government’s flagship Care Bill could make a real difference. But the reforms are at real risk.
“The Better Care Fund delay is a huge blow. But this could be compounded in a matter of weeks, if the Government goes ahead with proposed plans to further restrict who can receive care.
“Social care is set to be a real electoral issue - it's vital to millions of older and disabled people and their carers.
"We are calling on the Government to reconsider plans to further restrict who can receive care.
“Unless care reforms are matched by the appropriate eligibility criteria – and funding to deliver it – social care reforms will be undermined, people who need care won't get it, and the burden will be picked up by informal carers.”