Care providers are calling for urgent talks with new Health Secretary Sajid Javid over the escalating crisis in the care of older and vulnerable people.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) has written to Mr Javid inviting him to meet over a situation which has left 1.6m people without the care they need and providers failing.
It is urging Mr Javid to go down in history as the secretary of state who finally delivered long-overdue reform of the social care sector.
In the letter, ICG Chair Mike Padgham writes: “The Covid-19 pandemic has further ravaged an already depleted sector. Care providers, already on their knees following years of neglect, have been dealt a bitter and potentially fatal blow by the pandemic.
Rising costs associated with tackling the pandemic and the failure of bed occupancy rates to recover have plunged many into extreme financial difficulty. There have already been provider failures and more will come unless action is taken swiftly. Those caring for people in their own home through domiciliary care – a central plank in the Government policy on social care – are also struggling and there have been provider losses here too.
We cannot go on like this any longer or the social care system will collapse through a loss of providers and that will be devastating for the millions of people who rely on services for a decent quality of life.
If the Treasury is the barrier, the Chancellor must be told that change has to happen, whatever the cost.
Reform of the social care sector offers you and the Government a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go down in history as the secretary of state and the administration that finally resolved how we care for the country’s most vulnerable. The chance to create a Bevin moment is there to be taken.
I hope you will seize that opportunity and accept our help in doing so.
We have many ideas and suggestions as to how the crisis can be tackled and how we can together work out a way that provides the best social care for older and vulnerable adults, which I am sure is what we are all striving for.”
As a starting point 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
- Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
- A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.