18 November 2019: As election fever intensifies, it seems debate about social care is being sidestepped. Whilst the NHS has taken centre stage in election rhetoric so far, we’ve heard little about how to tackle the crisis in social care. Two reports last week shone a spotlight on the scale of problem facing local authorities and the care sector.
A new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies questions if austerity is really over. Its analysis shows that even just to sustain the current service provision, local authorities will require a further investment of £1.6billion to £4billion from government over the next five years.
Now is the time for an adequately resourced social care system with the dignity of older people at its heart.
Of course, this would still leave the sector in crisis. R&RA’s Helpline receives calls from families around the country, shocked at how difficult it is to get the support they need for older relatives. From families being asked to pay illegal top ups to keep a relative in a home close by, to serious concerns about care being overlooked.
Meanwhile, a second report from the Institute for Public Policy Research highlights the scale of the problem. It calls for large scale investment of £20 billion, if we are to ensure everyone gets the care they deserve. The report goes further, by calling for a better trained, better paid and better respected workforce. Points we whole heartedly agree with. Well, except for the recommendation to bolster the inadequate Care Certificate. If care staff are ever going to be seen as equal to NHS staff, whether in pay, training or respect, then they need a mandatory, national, independent qualification set out and run by the government to give them a proper qualification and career structure they and those they care for deserve. A point we have called for many times.
Will any of the political parties listen to these reports and tackle the crisis in care? Let’s hope so. Now is the time for an adequately resourced social care system with the dignity of older people at its heart.