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Care leaders says social care White Paper fails to address workforce crisis

Commons

Care leaders have expressed their disappointment at the lack of new funding to tackle the sector’s workforce crisis in yesterday’s White Paper.

The ten-year vision published by the government outlined how the government will spend over £1bn over the next three years on improving the lives of people who receive care as well as their families and carers.

The plans include £300m in increasing supported housing, £150m on improving social care digital technology to support care quality and independent living, and £500m on carer training and qualifications.

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James Rycroft, managing director at specialist dementia care provider, Vida Healthcare, said he was “disappointed” that the plans contained no additional funding for social care with the sector to receive 15% of the total £5.4bn health and social care fund over the next three years.

“This is simply not good enough as social care needs funding immediately,” James said. “We are left paying more tax for very little return and it highlights that the cost of care is clearly not understood by the government. If it was, a larger proportion of the fund would have been allocated.”

While welcoming the government’s plans to invest in staff training, extra care housing and in new technology, Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, labelled the paper a “vision without action”.

“There is no promise of any extra funding, other than what has already been announced, to help recruit and retain the thousands of extra staff we need to tackle a growing crisis in the sector,” Mike said.

“And there is no real, bold, long-term plan for the total reform of the social care sector that everyone wants.”

Neil Russell, Chairman of specialist neurological care group PJ Care, said the promised 6.6% increase in Minimum/Living Wage for employees could increase pressure on care providers unless it was matched by increases in fees for providers.

“We need to be able to pay our staff a wage that their role deserves, especially in the face of higher-paid, less pressured roles currently available in retail, hospitality and warehousing,” Neil said.

Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), said the government’s ambitions to improve the lot of care workers fells “far short” with “no measurable impact on care worker take home pay”.

“We believe that it is only by investing in our people and rewarding and lifting care staff out of low pay, will the long-term ambitions set out in the White Paper be fully realised,” Dr Hughes added.

The Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) also expressed disappointment with “many respects” of the Paper.

The charity commented: “We are pleased that the government recognises the need for reform but after reading the “People at the Heart of Care” White Paper which has been released today we cannot help but feel disappointed in many respects.

“To discuss care workers’ rate of pay increase in terms of the National Living Wage increase is saddening as we believe that care workers should never be placed in this category of pay and expect to feel valued.

“We are disappointed to not see stronger steps such as registration to support the workforce to be recognised as professional. If the government hopes to begin to tackle issues in social care there must be a better investment into the workforce. While we are glad that this conversation on reform has begun, we hope that improvements over the next three years will go much further than today’s Paper.”

 

Tags : FundingLegislationRecruitmentwhite paper
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The author Lee Peart

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