ADASS: Social care reform proposals ‘pose more questions than answers’

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The president of ADASS is seeking urgent clarification about what is being promised for adult social care following last week’s announcement on reform proposals.

Stephen Chandler (pictured) said he welcomes the government’s decision to break the “25-year silence” on adult social care reform, but added that he has been left “perplexed and concerned” that the proposals pose more questions than answers.

“We have searched hard for any details that are meaningful,” he said. “There is a promise to develop a White Paper for reforming adult social care which ‘will commence a once in a generation transformation to adult social care’ but we can find no funding commitments to make that happen. It is not clear how this is consistent with what has been publicly promised and look forward to hearing more.”

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Stephen said ADASS has two primary concerns; first, the announcement provides no additional funding to enable the sector to deal with workforce pressures and increased levels of need, he explained.

Secondly, beyond the announcement on the social care cap and means-testing, ADASS believes it is not clear that there is any new money for adult social care to improve care and support from April 1 next year.

“What older and disabled people, carers and care workers need is a clear statement about the funding that will be available right now to see us through an incredibly difficult winter, for next year, and beyond,” Stpehen said.

“This has been billed as a big social care announcement, but beyond the implementation of a cap on individuals’ personal financial contributions and a raising of the lower limit of when people are charged in the future, the additional money is all going to address issues in the health service.”

Stephen continued: “Unless there is something significant added, very little, if any, of the £36 billion that has been announced is ever likely to make it to adult social care budgets via the NHS.

“It will not add a single minute of extra care and support, or improve the quality of life for older people, disabled people and unpaid carers. The risk is that this becomes just another in a long line of promises.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “As part of the £5.4 billion announced this week to reform social care we are providing at least £500 million to support the development and wellbeing of the care workforce, who have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic.

“We are working with local authorities and providers to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high quality care to meet increasing demands. This includes running regular national recruitment campaigns and providing councils with access to over £1 billion of additional funding for social care in 2021-22.”

Tags : ADASSFundinghealth and social care levyLegislationsocial care reform

The author Lee Peart

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