Government pushes back digital social care timeframe by a year after falling 17 points short of 80% target

In a plan published in 2021, DHSC pledged to double by March 2024 the uptake of digital records by registered social care providers – but this target has been pushed back

The government has pushed back its timeframe for delivering the digitisation of social care records after falling well short of the 80% target originally set for this year.

In a white paper published in late 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care set out a pledge that “by March 2024, we will ensure that at least 80% of social care providers have a digitised care record in place that can connect to a shared care record”. At the time the plan was published, 40% of providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had completed the switch to a digital system, with the remaining 60% still using paper records, the white paper says.

Answering a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Andrew Gwynne this week, social care minister Helen Whately revealed that, while marked progress has been made, government was still well short of the 80% threshold that was scheduled to have been passed by now.

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As of February 2024, only 63% of providers have adopted digital social care records (DSCRs), the minister said. Consequently, the DHSC has “updated [its] target to ensure that 80% of CQC-registered providers and 80% of people who receive care will have a DSCR in place by March 2025”. This represents a delay of a year – during which time government will also provide millions of pounds of additional funding to support the rollout, Whately said.

“By extending timeframes, we can ensure that care providers who are yet to digitise have the time and support needed to successfully adopt DSCRs, and to reduce the risk of regional disparities in DSCR uptake,” she added. “We’ve allocated a further £25m this financial year, to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from a DSCR.”

Sam Trendall

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