Pressure is growing on the government to provide additional money for social care following Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement last week.
Former Conservative health secretarys Stephen Dorrell and Andrew Lansley have criticised lack of additional support for the sector, while senior doctors and Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders in local government have called for a rethink.
NHS Confederation chairman Stephen Dorrell told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday that the Chancellor had made a “mistake” by not investing in social care.
Earlier, Lord Landsley said he was “disappointed” that more funding was not announced.
Meanwhile, the medical profession together with local government leaders have sent a letter to the Observer warning that social care was close to collapse, putting the safety of millions of elderly people at risk.
Figures obtained by the Observer revealed that 77 of 152 local authorities have seen at least one residential and nursing care provider close in the last six months because of cuts to council budgets.
In his reaction to the Autumn Statement, which included a rise in the Living Wage, Matt Lowe, chief executive of LNT Group told Care Home Professional, said: “The Living Wage rise announcements fits with what we, as Ideal, have already been paying and has been well sign-posted so there is no surprise there.
“ It is, however, too easy for the government to look past the implications this has on sectors such as social care where wages are 75% of costs. Quality and foresighted operators like us are well-prepared but too many are not and are unable to generate the fees needed to cover these burgeoning costs. Something must give and in all likelihood either the provider will go bust or the quality of the care provided will decrease.”
Mr Lowe said the UK was facing a “two tier system of social care – one for those who can afford good quality care and one for those that cannot”.
Paul Wilkins, head of business development and co-founder of Desuto, said the country was facing a “black hole” in terms of social care provision with rising hospital admissions and delayed discharges.
An Avery spokesperson added that like many others the provider was disappointed that the NHS and social care did not feature in the Autumn Statement.
National Care Association executive chairman Nadra Ahmed OBE said: “Being totally dismissed in this fashion highlights the fact the ministers have no understanding of the pressures sector providers face and so we cannot put our trust in them anymore. The time for the sector to make a concerted and united effort has to be now!”