Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, we welcome this long awaited step to address the fragile social care system, with a commitment to increase funding and cap costs. As a leading provider of care for people with disabilities we see every day that additional funding is much needed across the health and care system to address the needs of people living with complex conditions, as well as the need to ensure seamless pathways from the NHS to social care for people attempting to navigate a complicated system. We are pleased that this Government has finally taken the opportunity to set out a new ambition for funding and integration. However, there remain some critical challenges which all of yesterday’s noise will do nothing to address. Our CEO, Irene Sobowale, urges the Government to also tackle the immediate broader challenges faced by the sector.
“It is great to see the Government address the need for reform, alongside the recognition that the success of health and care go hand-in-hand. A true focus on integration offers the opportunity to put people at the heart of a system and thread personalisation through each connection. However, whilst increased funding and a cap on care costs are both important elements of social care reform, much more is needed.
“Services are currently commissioned at minimum wage levels, creating high levels of vacancies as far more competitive salaries are offered in sectors outside care, rapidly reducing our wonderful workforce. We need to take urgent action to ensure our workforce is fairly paid for the amazing work they do every day alongside the longer term objective of changing the public narrative of social care as a career.
“Equally, much of the discussion has considered the impact of reform on the needs of older person care which undoubtedly was a system in need of urgent attention. However, this must not be to the detriment of the needs of working age disabled adults which accounts for just under half of all expenditure. It is critical that we widen the understanding of social care to both those with obvious needs and individuals whose needs remain ‘invisible’. Now is the moment to create a bold vision for care reform, which challenges the prevailing perception of social care as a reserve only for the elderly and recognises the critical role the sector plays in helping people of all ages live their best lives.”