A CAMPAIGNER has today issued a ‘stand together and fight for social care’ message ahead of the New Year.
Mike Padgham says social care providers must unite and demand a meeting with the Prime Minister to tackle the funding crisis and address care workers’ pay.
He was speaking as care providers prepared to begin 2023 with 1.6m unable to get care, 165,000 staff vacancies and a 59% jump in provider failures.
Mr Padgham, Chair of the care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG), said: “We will start the new year in a desperate situation and it cannot go on any longer.
“This has to be the year when all differences are set aside and everyone – Government, commissioners and care providers, get together to find a solution to the crisis in social care.
“We are now in a winter where the number of people who can’t get care is more than 1.6m, where 13,000 NHS beds are occupied by people who cannot go home because of a lack of social care packages and ambulances are queuing outside, where there are 165,000 staff vacancies and where residential care home insolvencies are up by 59%.
“In crippling times like this, organisations retreat into their own corners and protect themselves. If we are going to solve the crisis in social care, we can no longer do that, we have to work together.
“It will only work if we have a united voice, an appreciation that the social care market needs everyone – large, small, medium-sized providers, profit-making and not-for-profit. None of us can meet current and future care demand alone. There has to be a mixed market and all must make a profit – or a surplus – however you term it, to invest and grow their organisations.
“Nor can we find solutions if we are at loggerheads with the Government and with our commissioners.
“Social care staff deserve better pay as shown in a recent report which highlighted an £8,000 pay discrepancy between them and their NHS counterparts. Some are reportedly turning to food banks to help make ends meet.
“The NHS and social care sector both need to be funded properly so that staff are recognised and rewarded adequately and with parity.
“Confrontation and retreating to our own protected silos has not worked – it merely allows the Government to divide and conquer. As a sector we must speak with a unified voice and must sit down with our commissioners, with local authorities, the NHS and the Government and thrash out sensible, practical and sustainable solutions.
“Between us we have to find a way to make social care work again, to get more money to the sector and better pay and recognition to our front-line staff, giving them parity with their NHS counterparts and tackling the crippling staff shortages. Then we can free up hospital beds and get people the care they need.”