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Providers demand urgent reform of social care sector

Care providers say a campaign to ‘stand up’ for social care would be a fitting way to mark the first anniversary of the Covid-19 lockdown.

They called on the public to demand the government begin urgent reform of the sector after Covid-19 took a terrible toll on the vulnerable.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) says the country cannot let social care become so susceptible again and the time for total reform has come.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: ‘As we mark the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, we remember those who sadly have been lost.

‘For me, I think of the near 32,000 who have been lost in care settings and the valiant efforts of those working in social care to save and protect lives whilst feeling helpless.

‘At my own care group, we have cared for over 100 discharged Covid-19 patients.

‘So, now it has to be payback time. One and a half million heroic social care workers have put their lives on the line during Covid-19, it is time they got the recognition they deserve.

‘To begin, it would be nice if the government could give all carers in England a bonus like the £500 administrations have given to carers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

‘And it is time we put social care at the front of the queue and served the millions of frail and vulnerable people with the care they need and deserve, in a civilised country.’

As a matter of urgency, the ICG said it wants to see:

  • A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
  • NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally
  • Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance
  • Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
  • A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
  • Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT

The ICG points to 1.4m people going without the care they need, £8bn cut from social care budgets since 2010-11 and 100,000 vacancies in the care sector on any one day as evidence that social care needs urgent help.

Mr Padgham said: ‘Reform is long overdue; the prime minister has repeatedly promised it and it is time to deliver.

‘Unless we get more funding into the sector to support care, ease the staffing shortages and improve the terms and conditions of the staff providing amazing care, the sector will continue to be extremely fragile, as it was when Covid-19 struck last year

‘If people had lived as long as they do now when Nye Bevan created the NHS in 1948, the care of older people would have been included in the system then.

‘It is time to put that right now by carrying out the sort of reform Bevan did for healthcare on the way we care for the country’s most vulnerable and in need of support.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We have provided billions of pounds to support adult social care during the pandemic including on infection and prevention control measures, free PPE, priority vaccinations and additional testing.

‘Last week we announced £341 million of funding to help continue to protect some of the most vulnerable in society as we cautiously ease restrictions.

‘Delivering a care system that is fit for the future remains a top priority and we will bring forward proposals for social care later this year.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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