OLDER and vulnerable people left without the care they need is a hidden scandal that needs to be exposed, care providers said today.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) has welcomed the publication of a new report warning of “a tsunami” of unmet care need this winter.
Commenting on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “For far too long the scandal of people living without the care they need has been a hidden one. Frail, older and disabled people whose voice isn’t being heard.
“It is mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, your neighbours down your street, whose quality of life is being ruined and it has to stop.”
The ICG wants to see root and branch reform of the care system to revolutionise the way we look after older and vulnerable people. It warned that the extra £162.5m the Government announced to boost the adult social care workforce, was just a small sticking plaster over a huge, gaping wound.
In its State of Health and Social Care in England report, the CQC confirms fears that social care providers are facing a staffing crisis, losing staff to better paid jobs in retail and hospitality, and unable to recruit replacements.
The number of unfilled social care jobs had risen from 6% in April to 10% in September.
The main reasons for the staffing crisis are: burnout from the pandemic; compulsory vaccinations in care homes; higher pay available in other sectors as the economy picks up and post-Brexit immigration rule changes.
Before Covid-19 it was estimated that there were 120,000 care vacancies in the care sector. It has been warned that an extra 40,000 vacancies will be created if the Government proceeds with its “no jab, no job” policy for care workers, due to begin in November.
Before the pandemic, experts said up to 1.6m people could be living with unmet care needs.
Mr Padgham added: “The CQC report, whilst very welcome, merely confirms what the social care sector has known for some time – that we are in crisis and about to reach breaking point.
“This winter could be very, very bleak indeed for our most vulnerable unless the Government wakes up and tackles an issue that has been staring them in the face for generations.”
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.