Care providers are furious after it was confirmed that long-overdue reform of the social care system was being delayed again.
Lord Bethell, a health minister in the House of Lords, has said he could not commit to a plan for social care reform by the end of 2020.
Care provider organisation The Independent Care Group says that simply isn’t good enough.
Chair Mike Padgham said: “This is yet another betrayal of millions of older and vulnerable people in this country.
“Before coronavirus we knew there were at least 1.5m people living in this country without the care they need. With coronavirus, heaven knows what that figure is now.
“It is now more than a year since Boris Johnson promised to end the social care crisis once and for all and the only thing we have seen is the situation getting worse.
“Under-funded and neglected by government after government, coronavirus exposed a social care system that was already in crisis and plunged it into further despair. Now we are told that there is no hope of even the publication of a plan this year. It simply isn’t good enough.
“We need to see, immediately, the Government’s winter plan for helping social care cope with a much-feared and predicted second wave of coronavirus and then, as a matter of urgency, a full, root and branch overhaul of the social care system.”
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
- A guarantee that people receiving publicly-funded care can receive it in their own home or close to where they live
- A commissioner for older people and those with Learning Disabilities in England
- A properly-costed national rate for care fees linked to a national career pathway and salary framework for care staff
- Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
- A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- A cap on social care costs, including ‘hotel’ charges
- Local Enterprise Partnerships to prioritise social care
- A national scheme to ensure people save for their own care, as they do for a pension
- A new model of social care delivery based on catchment areas – like GPs
- Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT
- CQC to have much greater powers to oversee all commissioning practises such as per minute billing and 15-minute visits
- Less duplication of inspection between CQC and local authorities/CCGs
- Greater recognition of the role of the independent sector and utilisation of its expertise in the commissioning and delivery of social care
- Guaranteed equal partnership working through seats on Health and Well Being Boards, CCGs and NHS
- Giving providers and CQC greater flexibility in delivering services
- Providing telemedicine incentives
- Allowing nurses and social care staff from overseas to work in the U.K. including lowering the salary cap
- Training and bursaries to encourage recruitment/end the shortage of nurses
- Long term measures to integrate older and younger people in care settings and change the perception of the generations
- Investment in research and development into new models of social care delivery
- Funding to help upgrade older care homes to maintain a range of choice for the public and investment in domiciliary care
- Funding for leadership training.