Care providers have called on the government to step in and tackle the social care crisis.
The call by the Independent Care Group (ICG) came amidst a staffing crisis exacerbated by mandatory vaccination and Brexit, rocketing energy costs, homecare workers struggling to do visits due to petrol shortages and rising insurance premiums following COVID.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham (pictured) said: “The government is willing to do anything – including granting visas to overseas workers – to tackle food and petrol shortages but continues to be deaf when it comes to the care of our most vulnerable. It needs to get a grip on social care before it is too late and the number of people who aren’t getting the care they need, some 1.5m, doubles.”
Mike said the sector was “already on its knees” following COVID and warned of “further storm clouds” that could push many providers to the brink.
The care leader called on the government to scrap the 11 November mandatory vaccination deadline and provide more funding support for providers.
The ICG is calling the government for: a root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded; NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally; extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance; dementia to be treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease; a fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care; and social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “We are committed to the delivery of world-leading social care and we are giving £5.4 billion for the sector, including £500 million to develop the workforce, to put in place comprehensive reforms that are sustainable and fit for the future.
“To support the sector through this global pandemic we have provided over £2 billion in specific funding for adult social care, in addition to more than £6 billion that has been made available to local authorities to address pressures on their services.
“Over 90% of care home staff have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the 11 November deadline and we encourage even more staff to get vaccinated to protect their colleagues and those they care for.”