Care for thousands under threat, ICG warns

THE care of thousands of older and vulnerable people could be at risk after a dire warning that a third of care providers have considered leaving the market.

A new report out today reveals that rising costs and workforce pressures are pushing many care providers to the edge.

The care provider organisation, The Independent Care Group (ICG) says the report provides more evidence of the need for urgent Government action on the care crisis.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Coming as it does, hot on the heels of a total lack of action on care in the Budget, this report makes terrifying reading and rings alarm bells for the future care of thousands of vulnerable people.

“It serves as a snapshot of where providers are at the moment, particularly smaller providers, which make up a vital chunk of the sector as a whole. It paints a picture of the social care sector potentially suffering death by a thousand cuts as more and more providers either fully close, close parts of their operations or consider closing in the future.”

The Sector Pulse Check report was commissioned by national learning disability charity Hft and Care England.

Some 92% of respondents said workforce pay was a concern, with 81% saying local authority fee increases did not cover those rising costs. Financial and workforce pressures had forced 42% of respondents to close parts of their organisation or hand back contracts

Mr Padgham added: This is an excellent, timely report and we congratulate Hft and Care England on its publication and stand firm with them in calling for the Government to get round the table with providers and find some solutions.

“If, as is being reported, a settlement has been reached to give nurses and ambulance workers a well-deserved pay boost, we have to ask, what about care staff?

“They fought side by side with NHS workers during the pandemic and, like them, were clapped on the doorsteps. But there is little sign of social care being funded sufficiently well for anything like the pay rise afforded to their NHS counterparts.

“Better funding for social care would enable local authorities to pay a price that better matches the true cost of delivering care. That would in turn enable providers to pay their staff better, tackle the disparity that exists between them and their NHS colleagues and ease some of the financial and recruitment nightmares that are outlined in the Sector Pulse Check report today.”