March 6, 2024

Spring Budget Commentary

Table of contents

Spring Budget Commentary

By Max Parmentier, CEO and Co-Founder, Birdie 

6th March 2024

Social care wasn’t on the agenda in today’s budget and that’s disappointing - when it comes to public spending on health, the focus remains on the NHS and acute care despite the clear challenges faced by the social care sector.

However, it’s the narrative on how that NHS funding should be spent that should give the social care sector pause for thought. The Chancellor’s narrative here was all about productivity and efficiency, in large part by stopping wasted time on outdated IT systems and paper processes. This is the exact same conversation that we’ve been having in the social care sector for years - the difference is the pace of change.

While the government today committed to over £4 billion funding the public sector productivity plan in order to replace outdated technology, deliver digital rostering and digital care records for the NHS, the social care sector has long needed to look to its own solutions - and it found them. For example, at Birdie, we already work with over 1,000 homecare agencies to transform their systems to efficient, innovative processes that allow them to focus on what matters most: care. 

So if the absence of social care in today’s statement tells us anything, it’s that necessity is the mother of invention: long having been left out of the public conversation, this sector has come up with its own solutions and is now showing true innovation and signs of progress. The Chancellor today talked about ‘people power’, and the progress in the social care sector at solving its own challenges is a great example of this at work. At Birdie, we share this view. We believe that it takes a village of care to deliver the best care to support our ageing population and anyone in need of care in our community.

Make no mistake that there’s a long journey ahead, and a big part of that is how this diffuse sector can better come together to not just operate better, but transform the system itself. This can only come by working together, leveraging the power of data to help streamline care pathways like hospital discharge and allowing for a preventative, personalised approach to healthcare. Countless initiatives are already being led across the country embodying this approach - from ICBs endorsing hospital admission prevention programmes with social care providers to fast discharge programmes and virtual wards for frail patients. Each of these unlocks significant savings and gives patients a much better experience. They also demonstrate that health and social care can work seamlessly together, enabled by technology and data, to ensure every patient gets the best care by the most suitable professional, in the community where they want to be and should be. We urge the government to recognise, celebrate and advocate for these initiatives to solve the social care crisis.

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