Fixing Social Care: A call to action for the new PM
Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has written to Conservative leadership candidates Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP and Rt Hon Liz Truss MP calling for a commitment to ‘fix’ the key issues facing the social care sector within the first one-hundred days of entering office.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“Despite repeated promises from Government that they would ‘fix’ adult social care, the sector finds itself in unprecedented circumstances. The immediate financial pressures facing the sector, amid a backdrop of rising energy prices, inflation, and a cost-of-living crisis, as well as long-term issues caused by decades of neglect and chronic underfunding, necessitate considerable and immediate action. It is vital that the leadership candidates understand the severity of these issues and the need to address them as a matter of urgency. Inflation and the rising cost of living are having a disproportionate and detrimental impact on social care providers; Government inaction has meant that care providers are limited in their opportunities to provide their staff with the remuneration and benefits afforded to NHS colleagues. The dysfunctionality of the system was once again highlighted in the ADASS Member Survey, which revealed that an estimated 540,000 people are waiting for assessments, care, direct payments or adult social care reviews, a 36.9% increase since November 2021.”
The letter to Mr. Sunak and Ms. Truss came after the publication of the Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee’s report into ‘long-term funding of adult social care’. The LUHC Committee concluded that the Government’s plans for social care contained ‘no roadmap, no timetable, no milestones and no measures of success,’ as well as an annual funding gap of at least £7bn. Care England’s letter to the leadership hopefuls calls for a commitment to implement a series of measures to address immediate and long term pressures, among them:
- Cost-of-Living: Allocate additional funding immediately accounting for inflationary pressures, rising energy costs and to address unmet care needs.
- Funding: Commit to closing the funding gap by allocating more funding to adult social care in the order of several billions each year, at least £7bn.
- Staffing: Equalise pay rates between domestic and overseas staff and issue a plan for overseas recruitment in line with the code of practice on global staff shortages.
Martin Green continues:
“The issues facing the social care sector are symptomatic of one that is underfunded, undervalued, and has for far too long been overlooked by those in power. The needs of society’s most vulnerable and those caring for them are too often an afterthought. The country is deserving of a leader who recognises the true value of social care and takes it upon themselves to finally deliver on the manifesto promise to ‘fix’ social care once and for all.”