National Care Association, is calling on all political parties to commit to social care reform to ensure that vulnerable people who are reliant on care and support at the most vulnerable time in their lives are not let down by the establishment. We want to highlight the fact that funding remains inadequate and the recruitment and retention of staff further compounds the ability of responsible providers to offer quality care services to our citizens.
We remain disappointed to note that the commissioning practice of local authorities throughout the country remains unacceptable. Social Care budgets have been cut by £4.6 billion since 2010, and providers are walking away from an unsustainable sector as they themselves become susceptible to instability.
The results of our annual fees survey highlight the fact that, despite the universal recognition that the social care market is at a ‘tipping point’ (CQC’s State of the Sector Report 2016), the commissioning practice of local authorities throughout the country remain questionable and have created further instability in the market.
It should be noted that the social care sector already supports the NHS, caring for large numbers of people who in times past would have been (expensively and inappropriately) cared for in long stay hospital wards. This has never been fully acknowledged as the funding for these long term conditions remains with the NHS despite the fact that independent social care providers are delivering some of the care. The challenge remains that there is the potential for an explosion in bed blocking if the reduction in social care availability drops beyond the “tipping point” which would then overwhelm the NHS.
The question is “Why must we wait until the worst predictions come about? Why can we not act to prevent this looming disaster?”
National Care Association is calling on all political parties to:
- Close the care sector funding gap
- Deliver agreed funds to the front line
- Consult with providers and/or their membership body
- Prepare for the changing demographics
- Recognise the need for Social Care and NHS cohesion
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman of National Care Association said: –
“The average fee increase offered by LA’s has been around the 2% mark which will not even cover the latest wage increases for our workforce by the NLW and the NMW. The funding gap remains at an astonishing 8-10%! We were full of hope as we welcomed the recently committed funds for social care from local and national Government believing that we should see the sector recovery plan beginning to emerge but sadly, we note that front line services have seen no impact of the increased funding.
Over 70% of providers who responded to our research told us that they have had no fee consultation exercise with their local authority, confirming that the abuse of a dominant market position remains prevalent in the relationship between provider and commissioners. This is deeply disappointing at a time when the public interest would dictate that a more productive approach to resolving the issues faced, would be a closer working relationships.
We believe that a successful solution to the crisis faced by social care is achievable only if there is clear recognition that quality provision must be at the centre of the debate.”