THE CHANCELLOR must avert a major crisis in the care of older and vulnerable people by investing in the sector this Wednesday, providers have said.
Care providers say the care of people in their own home and in care and nursing homes is teetering on the edge of survival as we approach winter.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says unless investment in care is announced as part of Wednesday’s spending review, hundreds of thousands more people will be added to the 1.6m people who currently can’t get care.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We have reached D-day for care and whatever is done or not done in the next 48 hours will have a huge impact on the quality of life of millions of people in this country.
“There is not enough money to pay carers to look after people in their own homes, so that service is starting to crumble and we know that care and nursing homes too are going out of business.
“The Government cannot keep standing by and watching this happen. It has to act and it has to act in this week’s budget announcement.”
Mr Padgham was speaking after a report by the Homecare Association, which represents providers who look after people in their own home, said local councils were not paying those providers enough to cover the cost of care.
He added: “Local councils simply don’t have the funds to fund care properly and that is having a huge knock-on effect.
“If homecare providers have to cut back on services and care and nursing homes cannot operate properly then there will be nobody available to look after people – including those discharged from hospital.
“The whole care system will start to clog up and we will be in meltdown, just as we get to winter.
“The extra £5.9bn for the NHS, which will be welcome I am sure, will be completely meaningless unless it is matched by similar investment in care. Unless people have somewhere to go after they have been in hospital, the care system doesn’t work. You cannot invest in one without investing in the other.
“Similarly, the increase in the National Living Wage is excellent – care providers would like to pay their staff even more. But unless more funding comes into the sector it will just be another major cost that will drive providers even closer to the edge of survival.
“Governments have never funded social care properly and unless they start doing so now, we are going to be in a huge mess this winter and that means serious problems for all our families.”
The ICG wants to see root and branch reform of the care system to revolutionize the way we look after older and vulnerable people.
It warned last week that the extra £162.5m the Government announced to boost the adult social care workforce, was just a small sticking plaster over a huge, gaping wound.
The ICG wants to see:
- A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
- NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally
- Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance
- Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
- A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.