Health and Social Care Committee chair Jeremy Hunt has pressed the government for detail on plans to reform social care, calling for a genuine long-term solution after many ‘false dawns’.
He expressed particular disappointment that ministers had failed to address key recommendations made in the Committee’s Social care: funding and workforce report.
The report called on the government to increase investment in social care by £7bn per year by 2023/24, bring forward a plan to streamline the training of social care workers and urgently tackle the problems in the care sector as a priority.
Jeremy Hunt said: ‘It is very disappointing that the government has failed to engage with our call to commit to increasing investment in social care by £7bn a year by the final year of the parliament.
‘This is the starting point for wider reforms and we repeat our warning that doing nothing is no longer an option.
‘Despite promises, Ministers appear to have made no progress towards a genuine long-term solution to this crisis.
‘Resolving it must be set as a priority. An intention to announce plans ‘this year’ rings hollow in the absence of detail on process or timescale and the failure to address this alongside NHS reform.
‘The pandemic has shone its cruel light on failings in our social care system so it really is now or never for reform. I look forward to discussing what progress to expect with the Social Care Minister when she appears before the Committee next week.’
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it will bring forward proposals for sustainable improvements to the social care system later this year.
‘We are committed to ensuring everyone receiving care continues to get the very best support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘The government has provided billions of pounds of additional funding to the care sector and made additional support available to tackle the pandemic, including free PPE and regular testing, as well as priority for vaccinations, for staff and residents.
‘Delivering a care system that is fit for the future, in which people are treated with dignity and respect, remains a top priority and, following new measures set out for social care in the Health and Care Bill White Paper, we will bring forward proposals for sustainable improvements to the system later this year.’
Photo Credit – Parliament