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What About Social Care? Sector Responds to Leadership Race

The next Prime Minister must have “bold plans” to protect older and disabled people and to remember the social care component of health and social care.

Kari Gerstheimer, CEO of Access Social Care said:
“With just two candidates left to battle for leadership of both the Conservative Party and the country, I can’t help but think that something is amiss. Throughout this contest there has been a distinct lack of discourse about the future of the social care system.”

“Once again, the care sector is playing second fiddle to the NHS and appears to be somewhat of a political afterthought. In 2019 Boris Johnson pledged to “fix social care once and for all” – but social care is not fixed, and it’s high time we have a Prime Minister that will make good on this promise.”

“Very few of us are untouched by social care – at the last count there were over 14 million carers in this country and over half a million people waiting just to get an assessment. I echo Professor Vic Rayner in saying that social care matters to us all, it matters to the survival of the NHS, and we cannot fix the economy by leaving vital parts of society on the back foot.”

“As Sunak and Truss fight it out, there is everything to play for by way of their approach to Health and Social Care. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, has warned that the year ahead will be the most challenging people needing and working in adult social care have ever faced. I am saddened however to see social care being kicked down the road with little mention of any commitments from either leadership contender about the future of the social care system. Failure to invest in social care amounts to poor fiscal planning and inefficient use of taxpayers money– it harms our productivity because people with unmet social care needs can’t reach their potential, and unmanageable caring roles keep people out of work. It harms those working in social care, who are choosing to leave the sector because of problems with pay. And it harms our health system because a failure to invest early in preventative social care leads to more crisis admissions in critical care”.

Access Social Care has said it would like to see the new Prime Minister make and act on bold commitments to adult social care, by helping to decentralise decision making and give Local Authorities the funding power needed to provide adequate social care, rather than spending precious resources keeping people out of the system in an attempt to protect the bottom line.

In a recent interview with The Guardian the Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, proposed that Labour would aim to launch a ‘National Care Service’ – we want the next resident of Number 10 to have similarly bold plans to protect older and disabled people and to remember the social care component of Health and Social Care.