Damning report drives home need for urgent reform, says ICG

A DAMNING report warning of ‘unfair care’ in England has to be a wake-up call for urgent reform, The Independent Care Group (ICG) said today.

The Care Quality Commission’s annual report says the cost of living and staffing shortages are leading to longer waits and reduced access to care.

It warns of a situation where only those who can afford to pay for their own care will get it whilst others might struggle.

The ICG says the country deserves better than a two-tier system of social care.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We must not move fully into a system where if you can buy your own care, you can have it but if you rely on your local authority, you can’t.

“Today’s report from the CQC shames us as a country and exposes the cruel, two-tier system of social care of haves and have-nots that we have been warning would come for years.

“If this continues, more and more providers who rely on local authority residents and homecare contracts will fail or close down, leading to an even greater shortage of care provision. Older and vulnerable people deserve better and deserve to have the care they need, when they need it.

“This is just the latest in a long line of damning reports and we can only hope that one day the Government will read one of them and wake up to the fact that something needs to change.”

The ICG is campaigning for the merging of NHS healthcare and social care to create a National Care Service. It argues that money saved by supporting social care and keeping people out of hospital would help fund improvements to the social care system. Social care needs a minimum of £7bn extra a year just to keep pace and the sector is desperate for help to properly reward its workforce and tackle the ongoing staff shortages.

“Money saved from unnecessary hospital care can be switched to properly fund social care and to meeting current and future demand, so the cost to the public purse might not be as high as people are fearing,” Mr Padgham added.

“We cannot wait, even until a General Election, for reform to begin. The warning is there: we are slipping towards a two-tier system, more and more people are living without care, providers are closing and people are still having to sell their homes to pay for care.

“The case for reform is now overwhelming, we need our politicians to be brave and get on with it.”

 

The ICG has set out its priorities for reform in its Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document. 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.