A panel of care leaders has given its verdict on funding support from local authorities during the COVID-19 crisis.
The assessment of local authority and CCG support came during a discussion of social care spending during yesterday’s Care Virtual Summit.
Majesticare COO, Angela Boxall, said there had been “not a lot” of additional support from local authorities or CCGs during the crisis, although one local authority had promised to refund PPE costs.
The COO said relationships with local authorities had “got a bit stronger” and there had been more verbal support.
UKHCA Policy Director, Colin Angel, singled out Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) as being “head and shoulders above the rest” for trying to get money out to the sector quickly during the crisis.
While echoing praise of HCC, Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, said local authorities in general were a “law unto themselves”, and had no accountability for their actions. Martin said only half a billion of the £2.2bn funding promised to care providers had got through to the frontline, adding there would need to be a system to ensure that local authorities behave properly and effectively in the future.
Agincare Group CEO, Raina Summerson, was more positive about local authority support commenting that most had provided an uplift in funding during the crisis. She said the level of local authority support had been “much better” than that provided by CCGs who had failed to match the NHS rhetoric of being fully behind social care.
The issue of funding was a central theme of the day-long event and featured heavily in an impassioned defence of the sector by Advinia Healthcare chair, Dr Sanjeev Kanoria.
Dr Kanoria said local authority funding of the sector was “dismal” with social care spending having dropped by 50% in real terms over the last decade.
“The care system that entered the pandemic was underfunded, understaffed, undervalued and in need of urgent reform,” Dr Kanoria said.
The Advinia chair said underfunding of social care was causing “collateral damage” in the NHS with a “well-funded and well-supported social care system fundamental to a well performing NHS”.
Dr Kanoria said: “COVID has underlined how precarious the current funding system is.”
The care leader ending by calling for an increase in care home funding to £1,000 per week as well as a VAT exemption for capital expenditure and goods, and consideration of a pension style individual contribution system for long-term funding of the sector.