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Care England Appeal to PM for Urgent Reform in Adult Social Care

Published on: 29 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 2 May, 2021

Care England has sent an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for a “1948 moment” for adult social care, referring to the then-revolutionary birth of the NHS.

“Successive governments have promised social care reform but have not delivered and now the situation is desperate,” the charity’s letter states. “Social care needs its 1948 moment to establish a long-term and sustainable future that will be to the benefit of all citizens and the economy.”

Care England, the main body representing independent adult social care providers, say the sector is on its knees and in desperate need of reform to protect citizens, reduce the burdens on the NHS and establish good careers in social care, adding: “We support the recent calls by the Health and Social Care Select Committee for an extra £7 billion per annum and for a workforce strategy.”

The letter emphasised social care has been on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic with a tragic toll of more than 30,000 deaths in care homes, as well as nearly 900 staff.

“The system leaves many families struggling to survive when one of the family members needs social care. Each year, thousands of people face losing their home and family assets, and many older people who have a family member needing care, face financial hardship.”

According to Age UK, 1.6 million people aged 65 and over do not receive the care and support they need and this could grow to 2.1 million people by 2030.

Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said: “Many citizens have been so heartened to hear the Prime Minister’s commitment to reform and it is very important that it features in the Queen’s Speech.

“The sector stands ready and willing to support the delivery of this much-needed reform agenda.”

The letter, with more than 26 co-signatories, including Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, Sir Ed Davey MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats and former Conservative Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell, now chair of the Dorson Group, was delivered to the Prime Minister this week.

And adult social care is by far the largest item of Surrey County Council’s expenditure. In 2020-21, costs are expected to top £370 million, nearly 40% of their budget.

SCC Budget 2020-21

Fiona White, Lib Dem county council candidate for Guildford West, said: “The crisis in adult social care goes on and on. Local government budgets are reduced every year and social care services are cut. Each time, fewer people in Surrey qualify for care and the packages they get are reduced.

Fiona White

“Surrey Conservatives won’t call them cuts; they prefer to say it’s a new way to deliver services, but the effect is the same.

“In his first speech as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson promised ‘to fix the crisis in social care once and for all’. Vulnerable and elderly people can’t wait any longer. Now is the time to honour that promise.”

Guildford Labour chair Brian Creese said: “We certainly recognise the huge challenge of social care provision in the UK. For many years it has been a desperately under-funded, Cinderella arm of our health system.

Brian Creese

“Sadly, there was a missed opportunity for a cross-party consensus accepting that adult social care should be fully integrated with the NHS back in 2010, but this moment disappeared along with the coalition government.

“Since then, the issue has reverted to being a political football.”

Labour’s Sue Hackman added: “The system is in desperate need of reform, and we endorse the demand for care staff to receive better pay and conditions. It is essential that adult social care is fully integrated with the NHS and equal care and equal pay for all is ensured.”

Sallie Barker

But Sallie Barker, chair of the Guildford Conservative Association (GCA), said: “Under the Conservatives, SCC gave high priority to adult social care in a number of ways including:

  • Supporting 2,529 people with a learning disability to live independently;
  • With partners, deploying a team of ‘dementia navigators’ who help about 125 people every month;
  • Identifying about 310 extra care flats for older people to live independent and active lives; and
  • Developing the Surrey care record with health services to cut down on red tape.

“Social care would continue to be a high priority for SCC under any future Conservative leadership,” Ms Barker added.

“GCA thanks adult care workers for their dedication and commitment during the pandemic and supports the reform of social care.”

Sam Peters

Sam Peters of the Green Party said: “Social care has been sidelined in Surrey for decades, with predictably tragic results. Repeated cuts, echoing those from Westminster, have worsened care provision, evidenced by soaring complaints and well-publicised failures, including unnecessary deaths.

“Outsourcing has proven a false economy, increasing costs long-term while reducing transparency and accountability.

“The Green Party agrees social care urgently requires proper funding, for those in care and staff, particularly following Covid-19.

“Increasing community support, following the Ethical Care Charter, would ensure carers are fairly paid and people treated based on need, not as numbers, profit sources or timeslots, and also save money while reducing hospital pressures.”

John Morris

And John Morris of the Peace Party added: “I hope Parliament will follow the advice of Care England and others to develop a social care system that will be world-class.

“Like the National Health Service, such a development must be free for everyone, able to deliver full care and support to match the needs for every one of the 2.1 million predicted for 2030.

“I would like to see the ideal system described in detail. The government can provide whatever funding is required with delivery continued through the county.”

Liz Hyland

Liz Hyland of R4GV said: “Although we are not a national political group we wholeheartedly support this Open Letter to the PM. The current funding and provision of adult social care needs root and branch reform, but successive governments have shied away from tackling the inequalities, postcode lottery provision and the poor employment conditions of social care workers.

“It has become a political albatross. More than one-third of Surrey County Council’s roughly £1billion budget for 2021/22 will be spent on adult social care, so it’s critical that the money is spent efficiently effectively, and represents good value. The jury is out on SCC’s performance.”

Ramsey Nagaty

And Ramsey Nagaty of the Guildford Greenbelt Group added: “The social care crisis has been predicted for decades from well-known demographic trends. Despite this, successive governments have prevaricated.

With a £300 billion deficit, public finances are now in a worse state than ever. But the problem is only going to get worse. As with Covid, the government has a moral responsibility to match its rhetoric with concrete measures.
“They should implement the 2011 Dilnot Report to cap care costs and end the ‘dementia lottery’. The government if it will not or cannot foot the whole cost, could then use its supposed leverage with the City to find an insurance-based model to cover any voluntary top-up costs.”

 

 

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