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Health and social care must use 'a common language' to help people stay independent

21 April 2015

As the political parties set out their plans for health and social care, the British Red Cross is calling for the NHS and local authorities to use the same language.

One thing all the parties agree on is the need to shift the health and social care focus from repair to prevention. But the Red Cross wants to see the NHS using the clear definition of prevention that appears in the Care Act to help people stay independent in their own homes. Unless we share the same definition of ‘prevention’, then we do not share the same ambition.

Chief executive Mike Adamson explains: “The truth of the matter is it pays to spend on prevention. It’s common sense that investing in preventing minor situations escalating into crises is more cost-effective than picking up the pieces.

“But while the politicians and policy makers profess to back the theory – it seems we are yet to achieve consensus on what ‘prevention’ actually means.

“Public health initiatives are getting airtime in the run-up to the election. However, little focus has been given to preventing people’s needs for social care, reducing the impact of those needs, and delaying – ideally preventing entirely – the loss of independence.

“Unless we use a common language and can be confident we are all talking about the same things, we’re not going to be able to effectively work together to make that prevention vision a reality.”

Follow the debate

The British Red Cross has teamed up with Age UK and the Royal Voluntary Service for a debate on prevention this evening at Tavis House. The debate is invitation-only but you can follow the conversation on Twitter using #TSQDebates.

The event is part of a series tackling the big issues for older people across health and care in the lead up to the general election.

Read our key asks to all parties for the general election and show your support for the issues that matter to you.

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