CAMPAIGNERS today sent a last-ditch plea to the Government to save the care of older and vulnerable adults ahead of tomorrow’s crucial Autumn Statement.
They are calling on the Chancellor to invest in social care to address the 1.6m people who can’t get care and the chronic staff shortages crippling the sector.
Mike Padgham, Chair of the provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG) urged Jeremy Hunt to remember his previous words on social care and invest in it.
“For the care of millions of older and vulnerable adults and the wider survival of the NHS it is vital that Mr Hunt addresses the crisis in social care tomorrow,” he said.
“When he was Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, Mr Hunt said social care needed at least an extra £7bn a year just to stand still.
“We want him to remember that and to remember that this Government promised to fix social care in its 2019 manifesto. We must not be let down again.”
He said providers understood that the Government was facing difficult financial decisions but said care could not wait any longer.
“Social care has waited more than 30 years for proper investment and reform and must not be made to wait any longer,” Mr Padgham added.
“We can all see – from the queues of ambulances and the patients waiting in hospital beds – that a lack of social care is hitting NHS care and that cannot go on. Investment in social care will enable providers to employ the staff they need to provide care, free the gridlock and support the crumbling NHS.”
The ICG says more than 30 years of neglect and under-funding has left social care on the brink of collapse, with Covid-19, chronic staff shortages and the cost-of-living crisis turning the situation critical. Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare providers are struggling through a shortage of staff.
At least 1.6m people are living without the care they need and there are 165,000 job vacancies in the sector.
Mr Padgham yesterday met Social Care Minister Helen Whately to discuss the crisis in the sector. He said the meeting had been ‘constructive’.
“I think it was a positive meeting. We discussed a lot, and I came away feeling that the minister had listened to the concerns of care providers and that we can hopefully strengthen lines of communication going forward,” said Mr Padgham. “It was extremely useful to get a one-to-one meeting with the minister and to tell her face-to-face the serious issues that care providers are enduring at the coalface.”