Positive noises from Labour on social care reform – ICG

THE Independent Care Group has welcomed new Labour promises on social care but urged the party to pledge “bold and total reform” before the next election.

The Labour Party promised, amongst other measures, to work towards a national care service and to set up fair pay agreements for social care staff.

It also said it would require all care providers to show financial sustainability, responsible tax practices and that they value their staff and deliver high quality care before they are allowed to register with the Care Quality Commission.

The ICG has given a cautious welcome to the proposals, which include a 10-year plan for social care.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “It was heartening to hear Labour talking about social care and the measures they have announced so far are sensible and positive.

“We certainly agree that the direction of travel has to be towards an integrated National Care Service with NHS and social care provision brought under one roof. And we want to see social care staff paid properly, on a par with their NHS counterparts, to help us tackle the 165,000-employee shortage that is currently crippling the sector.

“As with so many of these things, the devil will be in the detail, particularly when we get to see in full the party’s 10-year plan for social care.

“What we want to see from that is a bold plan for action for total, root and branch reform of the sector. No half measures, no tinkering at the edges, but a proper, sustainable strategy to get social care the reform and the funding it needs to not only survive but grow and prosper.

“I was pleased to recently meet Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting and Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall and am sending them our thoughts on what needs to be done in social care.”

The ICG 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.