People are living longer, often with more complex needs, and demand for care is increasing all the time.
At the same time, the funding of social care across the five nations remains wholly inadequate. This has resulted in serious constraints on the delivery of social care services to individuals who need state support.
We know that these people want reliable, sustainable services, delivered consistently by people known to them who understand their needs, preferences and aspirations. The current funding shortage has a number of negative impacts:
- State funded support being delivered too little, too late, meaning that opportunities are missed to support people in a way that anticipates their current and future care needs and prevents them receiving inappropriate support
- People being admitted to hospital unnecessarily and remaining there too long, resulting in negative impacts on individuals’ health and wellbeing, delays for those who do require hospital support and additional costs being incurred by health services
- Staff shortages resulting from low salaries and poor terms and conditions
- Providers of social care withdrawing from the market, causing changes in or complete removal of support to individuals who require it
- More individuals and their families having to bear the cost burdens and physical, emotional and time outlays of providing care, which will stack up problems for the future.
This is not acceptable for a civilised society – it does not adequately support people’s rights and interests, and undermines the dignity, value and worth of people who need care and support.
Social care is a sector of national strategic importance; being a major employer, providing essential support to individuals and families, and enabling family carers to remain economically active.
The Five Nations Care Forum calls on the five governments to take urgent corrective action to protect people’s rights and to ensure a sustainable social care sector now and for the future.