Sir Andrew Dilnot and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt are among 28 figures from across the political spectrum, social care and the NHS joining forces to urge the Prime Minister to honour his promise to fix social care.
At a conference yesterday, organised by the Future Social Care Coalition, the leaders outlined their recommendations for a social care workforce strategy – or ‘people plan’ – that mirrors the blueprint for improving conditions for NHS staff.
It comes nearly a decade after economist Sir Andrew (pictured) published his report into how to deliver a fair, affordable and sustainable funding system for social care in England.
The conference heard how successive governments have missed this and “numerous other opportunities” to reform what “remains an inadequate and unfair system”.
Speakers at the event said the social care people plan should be implemented as soon as possible after the pandemic to ensure staff working in care homes and in the community – and the people they look after – are no longer “neglected and ignored by government”.
Fair wages for care employees were among key proposals unveiled at the virtual Time for a Social Care People Plan conference.
Co-chair of the Future Social Care Coalition and UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “The shortcomings in social care should have been fixed long ago. But governments of all persuasions have failed repeatedly to deliver a plan for reform.
“Care workers are on the forgotten front line as this pandemic has repeatedly shown. They and the people they look after deserve better – it’s time they got a fair deal.”
Phil Hope, co-chair of the Future Social Care Coalition and a former minister of state for care services, said: “The government is embarking on an important reorganisation of the NHS which, quite rightly, puts collaboration not competition at its heart.
“But any reform must also seize the opportunity to put social care on an equal footing with the NHS. This means truly joining the two up as a partnership of equals to provide people with a seamless service giving better care.
“It all starts with the workforce, and a comprehensive social care ‘people plan’ should be based on a new promise to care staff that they will be given the recognition, respect and remuneration they deserve. This is in return for the amazing work they do in caring for the most vulnerable in our communities.”