For those of us in the public, it can sometimes be hard to understand the difference between Health and Social care. After all, why should it matter or make a difference ? Many of the older generation believe that they have paid National Insurance contributions all their lives so that they can be looked after in their old age.
Unfortunately the current reality is quite different to what most people might expect, and as often is the case it comes down to money and funding. “Health” care is centrally funded through general taxation and is meant to be free at point of use via the NHS. “Social” care is means tested and for those that are eligible for government support, it is the responsibility of local authorities to provide for.
For most people, it is very rare that they would have a “Social” care need without some underlying “Health” need or medical issue.
In the current climate of cost cuts and increased demand on services, the lines between social care and health care are becoming increasingly blurred as tasks that were previously performed exclusively by nurses seem to be more and more given to care workers to perform under the supervision of nurses.
Whether this is a good thing as it might indicate a trend towards the joining up of health and social care, or simply a way of cutting costs further remains to be seen.