Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, will also tell social care providers that it is time for action on a crisis that is harming social care and heaping further strain on the NHS.
Speaking to a conference’s delegates in Harrogate, Mr Padgham will say: “Can we have a referendum on social care and ask the country if it wants to pay a little more so that our older citizens – and that will include all of us soon enough – can have some proper care in our later years?”
Across the country care homes are closing and homecare providers are handing back contracts as the financial squeeze on social care providers continues. Bodies, including the inspection body the Care Quality Commission and Association of Director of Social Services (ADASS) are warning that social care is at “tipping point”.
Latest statistics make grim reading: 1m people are now living with unmet care needs; social care spending has been cut by £5bn+ since 2009-10; and 26% fewer people are getting the help they need.
A £2.8bn funding gap is predicted by 2019-20 and in domiciliary care alone a £500m funding gap has been identified.
Between 2009 and 2015 the number of people receiving local authority-funded domiciliary care fell by 20%. The UKHCA and ADASS both report providers handing back “unsustainable” contracts.
On care homes, a quarter of homes in the UK – some 5,000 – are said to be in danger of going out of business, after 3,000 homes closed in the six months up to Sept 2015.
The Number of nursing homes fell from 4,697 to 4,633 in 2015-2016 – the first decline in five years.
Mr Padgham will tell delegates: “Who takes the blame for the mess social care is in and the consequent huge burden it is adding to NHS healthcare?
“The Prime Minister for failing to address social care? Should it be the Government Minister for failing to speak up for the cause? Should it be council officers and councillors? Do we all share some of the blame for failing to care for the country’s most vulnerable?”
The Independent Care Group is calling for the sector to make more noise and for more funding to be put into social care, for greater use to be made of independent providers and for social care to be merged with NHS care, to ensure proper ‘cradle to grave’ care provision.
In recent weeks there have been growing warnings about the future of social care, with former Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb warning: “The NHS and social care face an existential crisis. Demand for services continues to rise year on year but funding is failing to keep up. The position in social care is perhaps even more serious. Growing pressures on services are so severe that all parties must come together to fundamentally re-think how we can guarantee the future of the NHS and social care services.”
And David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, warned: “The evidence suggests we may be approaching a tipping point.”
The conference will take as its theme the recruitment and retention of care staff. This has been highlighted in recent weeks by discussions over Brexit and the impact the country leaving the EU will have on social care’s ability to recruit staff from abroad.
Keynote speaker Neil Eastwood, founder of award-winning recruitment experts Sticky People, will be giving advice on how to get the right staff and keep them.
The conference will be held at the Pavilions of Harrogate conference venue and is open to anyone working in or supplying the social care sector across the North Yorkshire and York region.
It will be chaired by influential journalist and commentator David Brindle, The Guardian’s Public Services Editor.
For more details and to book a place at the conference visit www.mcculloughmoore.co.uk/icg