A coalition of councils and charities has called for the beleaguered social care system to be ‘completely reset’ and not just returned to normal once the pandemic is over.
The group, which includes the Local Government Association, NHS Confederation and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, have put forward a series of key principles, which they say are vital to ensure people of all ages and with a range of different needs can live the life they want to lead.
The call has been made to mark Boris Johnson’s first year in office as prime minister. When Mr Johnson first entered Downing Street last July, he pledged to fix the social care crisis.
But the coalition said the impact COVID-19 outbreak on the social care system means that a radical rethink is necessary.
It argues that any such plan should take account of the long-held issues facing social care prior to the pandemic and crucially, what we have learnt during the current crisis.
The seven principles cover vital aspects of every part of social care, support and wellbeing, including:
- Putting people first
- The importance of social care’s local dimension
- Adequate and sustainable funding
- Supporting the care workforce
- How care is provided and commissioned
- Health and integration
- The scope of care and support reform
Last week, Age UK warned that people who buy their own care have spent more than £7 billion in the 12 months since Mr Johnson made that promise.
‘For too long we have been promised a plan to fix the social care crisis but people who use and work in these vital services are still waiting. The COVID-19 crisis has proved that we need a complete reset, not a restart, when it comes to the future of social care,’ said LGA chairman, Cllr James Jamieson.
‘The pandemic has also served to highlight the incredibly valuable role of social care in its own right and why it is more important than ever before that we find a long-term and sustainable solution, so that people of all ages can live the life they want to lead.
‘These seven principles, which have support from a number of prominent organisations across the health and care sector, need to inform and underpin the government’s thinking on the future of adult social care in this country,’ added Cllr Jamieson.
‘Everyone who has been involved in dealing with the dreadful effects of this disease, including older people, unpaid carers, the most vulnerable and those who support them, deserve to know that the lessons learned will be used in shaping the future.
‘This should mean care and support is properly based around every individual, keeping them safe, well and as independent as possible, and in their own home and community for as long as possible.
‘We urge the government and other parties to begin cross-party talks on the future of adult social care, so we can get on with the job of realising our shared ambition of supporting people to live the lives they want to lead,’ said the LGA chair.
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