A leading care home operator has reacted to the proposed social care reform with an impassioned plea to Boris Johnson.
Putting forward an operator’s perspective as part of a panel discussion hosted by Irwin Mitchell, Shaleeza Hasham of family-owned and operated care group CHD Living called the proposed social care reforms a “step in the right direction” but noted many shortcomings.
As part of the debate, Shaleeza detailed her hopes that the proposed £36 billion investment in social care would have a “profound and positive impact”, with the means test hopefully providing “much needed support” for those who require adult social care, while the £500m pledge for social care workforce training was welcomed as an opportunity to enhance existing training.
She did, however, put forward points for the Government to reconsider as part of the plan, saying: “There are thousands of families currently struggling with crippling care costs. The proposed plan will only come into effect from October 2023. This means that those already paying for care – or starting that process before 2023 – will get little help from the new measures and will continue to experience major financial difficulties. This could result in subsequent psychological and mental health problems – something that only exacerbates the need for care.”
Noting a disparity in the sector, Shaleeza added that living and wellbeing costs should be factored into any funding considerations.
“The local authorities only consider the cost of care and not the cost of accommodation and the wellbeing of the individual. This puts operators in a difficult position because we can’t accept the funding on offer,” Shaleeza said.
“The fund needs to be looked at as an individual living at home, receiving care and considering their household costs, too. This will give a more reflective idea of what should be paid for people going into long-term care,” she added.
When asked if there is a message she would like to send to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Shaleeza replied, “My message to Mr Johnson would be that more help needs to be provided as soon as possible. So many families and care workers are struggling as we recover post-pandemic.”
“The other thing I would say is that a 1% contribution across the board will hit lower-income earners the most. It’s that cohort that we are trying to protect. This is our workforce and our key workers – the very people we should be protecting. I don’t think a blanket increase in national insurance is the answer. Perhaps a rise in income tax would be a much fairer way to split the pot between different income earners.”
Ending on a more positive note, Shaleeza expressed gratitude that the challenges facing the social industry are finally being acknowledged, with action being taken to reform the system.
“The proposed means test will hopefully help minimise extortionate care costs and make the system fairer for all. Increased funding for staff training will also result in a more skilled workforce and higher levels of care provision,” Shaleeza concluded.