CAMPAIGNERS today unveiled a new “Five Pillars of Social Care Reform” and urged the Government to let the sector ‘have its day’.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) has set out five vital steps to ensure the country can look after those who receive care and the 1.5m people who currently can’t get it.
It is urging the Government to take up the document’s proposals as it heads into the Tory Party conference this weekend.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:
“This is a call to reform social care so that people get the care they need and the workforce is properly recognised and rewarded for what they do – it is time to let social care have its day!”
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 1.5m 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.
Mr Padgham says it is vital that social care reform begins, even during the current financial turmoil.
“We cannot wait any longer,” he said. “With every passing day the pressure on the delivery of social care mounts and we are on the brink of seeing a loss of providers that will impact many thousands of people.
“As the Conservatives begin their party conference I hope they will take on board the points made in the document.”
Years of under-funding compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and now crippling staff shortages and the rocketing cost of living have left the social care sector in crisis. At least 1.5m people are not getting the care they need.
“Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare providers handing back contracts or going out of business,” Mr Padgham added.
“If the country is to suffer financial cutbacks to tackle our debt problems than I would plead for social care to be spared,” Mr Padgham added.
“We have to support and grow the social care sector, protecting care for those already receiving it and tackling the plight of that 1.5m who currently aren’t. “Proper reform of the social care sector will actually save money as people cared for in community, social care settings saves on the cost of expensive NHS healthcare.”
Introducing the Five Pillars, Mr Padgham adds:
“Of all the major crises facing this country, the care of our oldest and most vulnerable is one that cannot wait any longer for solutions.
“We have been warning for more than 30 years that social care was not being funded properly to provide a good, sustainable service for people who need that care every day to help them live a full life.
“Those years of under-funding left social care in a perilous state and Covid-19 then hit it hard.
“Now the sector finds itself facing a massive staffing shortage and huge increases in costs, including rocketing fuel and utility prices. There is a very real risk of significant provider failure with a loss of care provision and a subsequent, knock-on impact upon NHS healthcare.
“But it doesn’t have to be this way. In these five pillars we set out the urgent measures that need to be taken.
“If adopted we can, together, begin to build a Health and Social Care service that provides proper, sustainable cradle to the grave care for everyone who needs it, when and where they need it. And a care sector that properly rewards the amazing staff who time and time again deliver wonderful care, against the odds, to grateful recipients.”