A new report criticising the Government’s handling of social care is yet another damning indictment of the way it cares for the country’s oldest and most vulnerable, the Independent Care Group (ICG) said today.
The ICG said the Government had committed betrayal after betrayal of social care, leaving at least 1.5m people without the care they need and many providers struggling to survive.
Today’s report from the Public Accounts Committee said Covid-19’s “devastating impact on the care sector” had emphasised that “care is not properly funded, lacks transparency and urgently needs reform.”
And it said that despite two decades of “white papers, green papers, consultations, independent reviews and commissions”, “reform has not occurred”.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Here we have yet another damning indictment of the way governments have betrayed us over social care reform.
“How many times do we have to tell them the house is on fire before they call the fire brigade?
“We have been campaigning now for a generation and this latest report is just the latest. But our fear is that the Government simply isn’t listening. Despite promising to get social care done, it just keeps pushing reform further and further down the road.”
He said reform had to come now.
“The situation is becoming critical,” Mr Padgham added.
“Many are now facing dire financial difficulties because their occupancy rates have not recovered since Covid-19 and they have been battered by other soaring costs associated with the pandemic, including higher staffing costs, extra PPE costs and high insurance premiums.
“Providers who look after people in their own home through homecare – which is clearly a central plank to the Government’s future policy for care – are also suffering significantly.
“There have been provider failures already and more are inevitable unless action is taken urgently.”
“We must act fast, or we will not have a social care sector left to reform.”
Some £8bn has been cut from social care spending since 2010 and 1.5m people are now living without the care they need. There are at least 120,000 vacancies in the care sector.
As a starting point the ICG wants to see:
- A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
- NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally
- Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance
- Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
- A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.