Need for support now and long-term reform
Care providers today called on the Government to remember to prioritise social care at this week’s spending review as the sector battles Covid-19 on the frontline.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says the care of older and vulnerable people has been overlooked time and time again, leaving the sector in crisis.
Social care looks after people in their own homes, in care and nursing homes and extra care housing as well as providing day care and support for those with learning disabilities and mental health problems.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “The Government cannot afford to forget social care in Wednesday’s spending review.
“Social care is facing real financial difficulty as the effects of Covid-19 bite hard. The reality is that services are closing and people are having to leave the homes they have lived in for many years. Many are on the edge of survival and we cannot afford to lose any more providers as we need every one at this critical point in the fight against the virus.
“The £3bn predicted for the NHS is wonderful, but if we are all in this together then it must be matched by the same support for local authorities and social care providers who are side by side with the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.
“We would also like to see evidence that the Government is looking at long-term reform for social care to end the catastrophic neglect that left the sector is such a perilous state when Covid-19 hit.”
The ICG points to 1.4m people going without the care they need, £8bn cut from social care budgets since 2010-11 and 100,000 vacancies in the care sector on any one day as evidence that social care needs urgent help.
“The social care sector is in extreme danger and providers and local authorities need urgent help to protect the care of our most vulnerable,” Mr Padgham added. “The brutal impact of coronavirus has exacerbated all of those problems and is leaving a sector on its knees. We need greater government support now and urgent reform of the sector for the future.”
Some 16,442 people died from Covid-19 in care and nursing homes from 28th December to 6th November.
Social care currently looks after 400,000 people in care and nursing homes – that is three times the number in NHS hospital beds. Social care looks after a further 640,000 people in their own homes.