The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling on the government to produce a long-term plan for social care in the spirit of the post-war reforms.
LGA said health bosses need to take immediate action on social care if it wants to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic and ensure everyone is able to live their best life.
The government needs to reimagine the purpose and value of great social care for all people in all our communities, with the same zeal and spirit of hope which led to the creation of the NHS, councils said.
LGA said Covid-19 has shown the consequences of underfunding and the often hidden nature of social care.
The tragic situation in care homes, along with the disproportionate number of deaths of people with learning disabilities and those of black, Asian and minority ethnicity (BAME) backgrounds in the care workforce, are just some of the ways that a historic lack of national attention has played out in our communities.
Councils said immediate priorities should include funding to meet the continuing costs of Covid-19 on social care, particularly on the care workforce and unpaid carers, as well as investment to tackle the funding gap between the cost of providing care and what councils pay.
This would help pave the way to a properly funded, person-centred form of care that puts people in control of their lives and recognises their agency.
While working closely with communities and the NHS to invest in prevention, reduce health inequalities would ensure health and care services best support people to live the lives they want to lead in their own homes and communities.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said: ‘A better future for adult social care must be one of the legacies of Covid-19, which should include action on funding, workforce, meeting demand, improving choice and quality of care.
‘We need a ‘1948 moment’ which inspired the creation of the NHS for the long-term future of social care, especially in light of the devastating consequences of the pandemic for those drawing on and working in care and their families.
‘Over the last year, social care has proven that it is not simply a set of services needed by some because of age or disability, but a vital way of ensuring all people are supported to live a full life and maintain relationships and connections, whatever their circumstances, spanning various organisations, volunteers and staff.
‘Social care has also shown its value as an inherently local service, with councils playing a valuable leadership and coordination role in their communities.
‘Emergency funding to cope with COVID-19 costs to date has been helpful, but we need to move beyond ‘more of the same’ and the pre-coronavirus status quo, to a new era of care which puts more trust in people who draw on social care, better support wellbeing, and enables everyone to live the lives they want to lead.
‘We call on the government to recognise this in the forthcoming Spending Review and publish its proposals for the future of adult social care as soon as possible, before the summer parliamentary recess.’
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.
‘On top of this, the government has committed £341 million of funding to help protect some of the most vulnerable in society as we cautiously ease restrictions in the coming weeks.
‘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