RADICAL plans to improve the NHS will be spoiled by the government’s failure to carry out matching reform to the social care sector, the Independent Care Group warned today.
The ICG says the Government’s £2.4bn plan for the NHS is fundamentally flawed by a frightening lack of mention of social care.
And that without similar reform to social care, so that the two can work side by side, the NHS reform is dead in the water.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We have yet to see the detail of the NHS reform but from what I am hearing so far, it is the same old story, Cinderella social care isn’t going to the ball again.
“Worthy as the £2.4bn strategy is, to carry out NHS reform without giving similar reform to social care at the same time makes a mockery of the whole plan.
“The biggest issue in healthcare at the moment is that there isn’t enough care for people in the community so that they can be discharged from hospital or not have to go to hospital in the first place.
“Unless that is resolved, any reform of the NHS will surely be in vain.
“Without a properly funded and fully functioning social care system, NHS healthcare will be hampered, fighting to provide better care with a hand tied behind its back.
“We urgently need the two sectors to be merged, to create a National Care Service, bringing parity in funding to both sides of the equation and parity in pay, terms and conditions to the excellent staff who work in social care, take huge responsibility, stress and strain and have never been properly recognised.”
The ICG says long standing underfunding of the sector, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ensuing staff shortages and now the cost-of-living crisis and rapidly rising bills, have left a sector on its knees, with some providers leaving the industry.
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
- 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