Anger over reported delay to social care reform

Plans were discussed before Covid-19 pandemic

21 May 2020 – Independent Care Group

Reports that the Government had plans in place to reform social care BEFORE the coronavirus pandemic but delayed them until autumn have been described as a scandal.

The BBC has said that the Government was looking at social care reform right up until March’s budget but then shelved plans until later this year.

It reports that a cap on care costs and a method of getting payments direct to care providers, rather than through commissioners, were amongst options discussed.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) says it is a scandal if reform was so close to being unveiled before being kicked down the road again.

ICG chair, Mike Padgham said: “If true, this is an awful revelation and evidence of the latest of many horrendous delays in tackling social care which have left the sector chronically under-prepared for situations like coronavirus.

“We have been lobbying for reform for many years and to learn that plans were almost put in place but then delayed again is a kick in the teeth for all care providers at this challenging time.”

The ICG says 1.5m people are now living without the care they need after almost £8bn was cut from social care budgets since 2010. It says care and nursing homes have been closing and homecare providers handing back untenable contracts during the past decade’s crisis.

Mr Padgham added: “Coronavirus exposed a social care system that was on the brink of collapse and those cracks have been laid bare during the pandemic and the way care providers have been able to respond. Care providers are now in dire straits with admissions falling due to coronavirus and staff and PPE costs spiralling. Many are close to the edge.

“If reform had been carried out years ago, social care would have been able to respond better.

“Instead of kicking this issue further and further down the road, the Government needs to begin tackling the reform of social care right now, so that we are never put in this perilous position again.”

● Social care currently looks after 400,000 people in care and nursing homes – that is three times the number in NHS hospital beds. Social care looks after a further 640,000 people in their own homes.

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