The Independent Care Group says a Government cut in funding for the sector’s workforce is yet another cruel betrayal of a sector looking after the country’s most vulnerable.
It has been confirmed today that £500m earmarked to help train the social care workforce has been halved to £250m.
The ICG says the news comes at a time when the sector is in crisis and needs an increase rather than cuts in funding. It is also calling for long-overdue plans for social care reform to be published straight away and not “within weeks”.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “This is yet another cruel and unfair cut to the funding we need to provide help and support to older and vulnerable people.
“The sector is going through an unprecedented staffing crisis with 165,000 vacancies crippling our delivery of care. We need every penny of funding and cannot afford to have £250m removed at a stroke like this.
“The Government insists that all promised funding will stay within the sector but we cannot believe a word they tell us anymore.
“The sector is suffering demise by a thousand cuts and the people who will suffer most are the 1.6m people who cannot get care and the hundreds of thousands more who are finding they need help and support, every day.”
The ICG is angry that long-promised reform of the sector keeps being put back with the Government now saying plans will be announced “within weeks”.
“It cannot be acceptable that government after government keeps on delaying reform to the social care sector,” Mr Padgham added. “We are now being told that plans will be announced “within weeks” – how many times have we been told that before? And that will just be the plan – we could wait months or even years for reform to begin.
“Meanwhile the number of people waiting for care, now at 1.6m, continues to grow and care and nursing homes and homecare providers are closing.
“On a daily basis people are having to sell their home to pay for the care they need and more and more people living with dementia are having to pay for care whilst others with equally serious illnesses get their treatment and care on the NHS.
“Care providers cannot afford to pay their staff properly and so the list of vacancies continues to grow, crippling the delivery of care.
“This cannot go on any longer. It is a state of affairs that shames a civilised country like ours.”
The ICG wants to see urgent action and has issued its Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document, setting out what it believes are the actions required to save the sector.
The five pillars are:
- Ring fence a percentage of GDP to be spent on providing social care to those who already receive it and the 1.6m who can’t get it
- Create a unified National Care Service, incorporating health and social care
- Set a National Minimum Wage per hour for care staff on a par with NHS
- Set up an urgent social care task force to oversee reform
- Fix ‘fair price for care’ tariffs for things like care beds and homecare visits.