Care providers have signed a letter calling for a 1948-style reform of adult social care to establish a long-term, sustainable future for the sector.
The letter, signed by more than 26 co-signatories, was delivered to the prime minister on Tuesday (April 28). It emphasises that social care has been on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic with a tragic number of deaths in care homes, more than 30,000 residents and nearly 900 staff.
Co-signatories said the adult social care workforce has demonstrated tremendous commitment and resilience during this time. However, the sector is on its knees and is in desperate need of reform in order to craft a long-term future, that will protect citizens, reduce the burdens on the NHS and establish good careers in social care.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, 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.
‘As we come out of the pandemic, if we can develop a clear funding strategy for social care, we can also develop a range of careers that will provide high-quality care and support local economic development.’
Lord Victor Adebowale, chair of the NHS Confederation and a co-signatory to the letter said: ‘The prime minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly promised to fix the crisis in social care, yet two years into his premiership and despite decades of delay, the government still has yet to make any real progress on this issue.
‘Social care reform is now urgently and desperately needed. We urge the Government to set out a clear timetable, which details how reform of the sector can be delivered, and this needs to be supported by a long-term financial settlement.
‘The NHS and social care are sister services and have been supporting one another and working closely for many, many decades.
‘If one service is suffering, the other does too, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year have yet again served to highlight how brittle and under-resourced England’s social care system has become.
‘The government must now deliver legislative proposals to fix social care, once and for all. A well-funded and good quality social care sector is vital to a healthy nation and a strong and well-performing NHS.’
A department of health and social care spokesperson said the government’s manifesto made clear that it wants a system where nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it. But the reform of social care and its funding arrangements are complex areas and a range of options for how to deliver on this commitment are being considered.
Health bosses said they are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including those with lived experience of the care sector.
‘We are committed to improving the adult social care system and will bring forward plans for reform this year.
‘Throughout the pandemic, we have provided almost £1.8 bn for adult social care including on infection prevention and control measures, we’ve also provided free PPE and additional testing as well as prioritised health and care workers for the vaccine.’
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