Campaigners Demand Govt Ends Social Care ‘Gridlock’, Call for Investment to Bring More Staff Into the Sector

Campaigners today called on the Government to properly fund and reform social care to end a ‘gridlock’ in the care of older and vulnerable people.

Responding to a damning new report, Mike Padgham said: “Yes, social care is gridlocked but the solution is clear and obvious: give it the reform it needs and we’ll open up new lanes and get the traffic moving again – otherwise we will all end up broken down on the hard shoulder or worse!

“Capacity is shrinking but we can’t increase it because we don’t have enough staff. To recruit staff we have to be able to pay them properly and at the moment there isn’t the funding in the sector to do that and get rid of the gridlock.”

Mr Padgham, Chair of the care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG) welcomed today’s report, ‘The state of health care and adult social care in England’, by the inspection body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It labels the system “gridlocked” and says too often people cannot access the care they need, capacity is falling and staff are leaving the sector. It blames historical underinvestment and a lack of reward for the social care workforce. It warns that unless action is taken pressure in the system will lead to “worse outcomes” for people.

Mr Padgham said:
“The report is not a surprise but is a damning indictment of the way the country continues to treat the care of our most vulnerable – our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.

“It has got worse over the past 12 months which shows that the Government isn’t listening and any measures they have taken, haven’t worked.

He said care providers had the solutions but the Government had to listen and respond. It could begin by including care providers on the new Integrated Care Boards.

The ICG says more than 30 years of neglect and under-funding has left social care in crisis, with Covid-19, chronic staff shortages and the cost-of-living crisis turning the situation critical. Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare providers are handing back undeliverable contracts. At least 1.6m people are living without the care they need and there are 165,000 job vacancies in the sector.
It has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt calling upon him to give social care the extra £7bn a year he has acknowledged it needs.

“If we are in gridlock, it is down to government after government, of all political colour failing to grasp the nettle and tackle social care,” Mr Padgham added.

“Mr Hunt recognised, when he was Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, that social care needed an extra £7bn a year just to stand still. He said then that the £7bn would be “a starting point for a wider series of reforms”.

“Now Mr Hunt has his hands on the purse strings and we call upon him to give social care that investment he knows it needs, right now.”
The ICG has called for root and branch reform of the social care sector.
It has launched its Five Pillars of Social Care Reform, setting out what it believes are the actions required to save the sector.

The five pillars are:
• Ring fence a percentage of GDP to be spent on providing social care to those who already receive it and the 1.6m who can’t get it
• Create a unified National Care Service, incorporating health and social care
• Set a National Minimum Wage per hour for care staff on a par with NHS
• Set up an urgent social care task force to oversee reform
• Fix a ‘fair price for care’ cost per bed and cost per homecare visit.

 

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