Campaigners fear NHS will get cash boost first
Campaigners fear the care of older and vulnerable adults will again play second fiddle to NHS care when extra funding is announced today.
It has been widely reported that the Government is poised to announce a 1.25% increase in National Insurance to boost funding for the NHS and social care.
Whilst welcoming the move, the Independent Care Group (ICG) said it feared the extra money will first be channelled into NHS needs, leaving social care to wait.
It has also warned that funding is only half the solution and the staffing crisis was the current biggest issue facing providers.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “The extra funding is positive news, but already we are hearing that the NHS will be the priority and that better funding for social care will be ‘phased in’.
“Yes, the NHS is urgent, but social care is urgent too and we must get the extra funding together, otherwise more and more damage will continue to be inflicted upon the crumbling social care sector and the NHS will be left to pick up the pieces anyway.
“We have waited 30 years and currently have 1.5m people not getting the care they need, we should not have to wait any longer.
“We wait to see what is actually announced but urgently tackling the crippling cost of social care would be a good place to start. It is wrong that people currently end up selling their home to pay for the care they need.
“We have long campaigned for better funding for social care and believe that people would be prepared to pay a little more in taxation or National Insurance, or a combination of both, in return for a properly-funded, fair social care system.
“At the same time, this can only be the very start of reform and has to be a part of a root and branch overhaul of the system to make it fit for purpose. At the moment the crisis in social care staffing is at the uppermost of providers’ minds as they struggle to get enough staff to cover their shifts.
“Any reform must tackle the staffing issue and ensure we create a sector which is properly rewarding to those working in it.
“We need proper, sustainable funding, for dementia to be treated as other serious illnesses are, and funded accordingly, and for a proper pay and reward structure for social care staff.
“Capping care costs – however it is done – is only the beginning. A good beginning but just the start.”
The ICG has long campaigned for:
- 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.