Care leaders have accused the government of being ‘out of touch’ on the social care crisis.
The accusation by the Independent Care Group (ICG) came after Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid rejected claims in the House of Commons this week that a failure to fix social care and address staffing issues in both social and NHS care had created a permanent crisis.
Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “With the greatest of respect to Mr Javid, I have been delivering social care for 32 years and he has been Secretary of State for 10 months.
“I can say that there has been a shortage of staff in social care for all of those 32 years, but it is the worst it has ever been right now.”
Mike invited Mr Javid to come and visit a social care provider in North Yorkshire to witness the daily battle they have in covering shifts.
The ICG has called on the Secretary of State to reinstate the Infection Control Fund following its axing this month, as has happened in Scotland so that providers are better supported.
In a letter to Mr Javid, Mike said: “COVID-19 infection rates remain high and social care staff, in common with everyone else in the community, are becoming ill and are unable to come to work.
“However, because the Infection Control Fund has stopped, care providers are no longer able to pay those staff for the three days’ sickness that have to elapse before Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the government kicks in. Because of the tight margins, the majority of providers operate under, they cannot make up the shortfall.
“As a result, there is a very real danger that some of these staff are choosing to come to work, even though they have COVID-19, because they cannot afford not to be paid.
“This will potentially have a devastating impact upon care settings, with the obvious risks of spreading COVID-19 to their residents, homecare clients and colleagues.”