27 September 2019 – Independent Care Group
Mike Padgham, Chair of the care providers’ group, The Independent Care Group, said: “It is important that the threat to social care from a no-deal Brexit is being recognised and it is good that the Department of Health is addressing the issue. Medicines and uncertainty over staffing levels are just two of the concerns the sector has over Brexit.
“However, the real challenge for social care is the ongoing crisis on a day to day basis. A chronic lack of funding over a generation has left a situation where 1.4m can’t get the care they need through a lack of homecare and care beds.
“That is the real challenge and why the Government has to act and stop kicking the problem further and further down the road – as evidenced by the continued delays to the social care Green Paper.
“Worrying about Brexit and social care is a little like worrying about a broken leg, whilst the patient suffers a heart attack.” “We need to hear solutions to the social care crisis from the Government and from all political parties and we need to hold them to account to deliver.
We have had 20 years of broken promises from all parties, and it is time for change”
Mr Padgham said providers had been warning for years over the crisis in social care, which has left those 1.4m people unable to get the care they need. Some £8bn has been cut from local authority social care budgets since 2010. Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare agencies are handing back contracts because they are untenable to deliver.
The ICG has written to the Prime Minister inviting him to visit social care providers on the frontline at its base in North Yorkshire to see the challenges facing the sector. It is calling for urgent action to be taken straight away to get extra funding into social care. It argues that there is a human case and an economic case for supporting social care. Support for social care eases pressure on the NHS by keeping people out of costly NHS hospital beds. The sector employs 1.62m – more than the NHS – and contributes £40.5bn to the economy.
The ICG says the past 17 years has seen 13 documents – four independent reviews/commissions, four consultations and five white and green papers on care. It argues that action, rather than further discussion, is now overdue.