THE Government must listen to the needs of older and vulnerable people who need care and start taking meaningful action in 2022, a campaigner said today.
Mike Padgham says the New Year should be the moment the Government turns its attention to people who have been forgotten.
“There are at least 1.5m people who aren’t getting the care they need as we go into a new year – that is our mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends,” said Mr Padgham, Chair of the care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG).“And there are many, many thousands more who are only getting limited help.
“All of these vulnerable people will start 2022 with a poorer quality of life than they deserve.
“For too long, theirs has been the quiet voice too easily ignored as the clamour from others was louder.
“We have a severe shortage of carers to provide care – at least 120,000 vacancies and growing every day.
“In 2022, the Government must start to listen to what older people and those with physical and mental disabilities need and start responding.
“In 2021, it made a start by injecting some limited funding and introducing a cap on care costs. But these were just tiny steps, just tinkering at the edges.
“The care of our most vulnerable requires much greater action – a root and branch overhaul of the social care system; the way it is funded and the way we recognize, respect and reward those amazing people providing care.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic took the lives of many older and vulnerable people in 2020 and 2021 and it exposed the care system like never before,” Mr Padgham added.
“The message for 2022 has to be that social care has had enough and that this is the year that the Government listens to those who need better care and to those who deliver care.
“There is so much expertise available in the social care sector and so many people willing to work with the Government to provide solutions. However, the first part of any constructive working relationship is listening.
“The Government didn’t listen over the staffing crisis and has only now allowed us to recruit from overseas again – too late to help the appalling staff shortages we had warned about due to the impact of Omicron.
“We have to work together to find a solution to a crisis that is only going to become more severe.”
Some £8bn has been cut from social care funding since 2010. Experts say at least an extra £10bn a year is needed. There are at least 120,000 care staff vacancies.
The ICG wants to see:
- A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
- NHS care and social care merged and managed locally or nationally
- Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation
- Dementia treated and funded like other high priority illnesses
- A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- Proper pay, conditions and career structure for carers
- Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.