I had been asked by the PM to attend the meeting to talk about the implementation of the Health Bill. This was an important meeting- though whether quite a "summit" as billed in media I'm not sure. And for my liking a little too much trivia on who had been asked to the party and who hadn't.
It was good to be there to represent the sector and it was clear from remarks by the PM that he clearly sees a bigger role for us and made a number of references to our delivery role. My two key points were;
1. We need action on Dilnot and social care reform. Many members have told me how important they see this . I said to the PM that without reform of social care funding, many people’s experience of care would be worse than it needs to be – and ultimately the funding crisis in social care would have a negative impact on the NHS reforms we were discussing. I urged the PM and Andrew Lansley to seize the opportunity to reform social care funding at a time when it desperately needs change.
2. The third sector has a vital role to play in delivering services to people who rely on the NHS, and we should not let the debate about ‘privatisation’ undermine the potential for charities and social enterprises up and down the country to do more for their beneficiaries. As the Government moves to implement its health reforms, ACEVO will be looking to ensure this potential is maximised, and we have been talking to the Royal College of GPs, the NHS Alliance and others about how we improve the relationships between ACEVO members and the GPs at the centre of the new system.
I shared his frustration that all of the discussion we had in the Future Forum and the changes they made seem to have been set at nought.
As I often do , I reminded the PM and Andrew Lansley of the need to press ahead delivering more choice and using us more; as I argued in my report to him on Choice and Competition.
" Competition is not a disease ". A refrain from my report. And a point that continues to need stressing.
We were offered a chance to leave by the back door as the protesters continued to protest. I declined the kind offer. I'm used to that sort of thing. Why, many moons ago I even did a bit myself........