Leaders have voiced their anger at news this week that social care reforms are unlikely to be announced until the autumn.
The news came after a meeting between the PM, Chancellor and Health & Social Care Secretary was delayed over the Treasury’s reported refusal to raise taxes to pay for reform.
Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Group, said further delay to reform “simply isn’t good enough”.
“We hear excuse after excuse on why key stakeholders can’t meet to discuss setting out policy, and meanwhile a large percentage of our population are being failed,” Nick added.
“Let down year on year with minimal support from an underfunded system. The lack of trust from the population is evident – our own research found that just 5% of over 55s have full trust in state care services and believe they would be cared for appropriately if necessary.”
Nick said “systematic change” was needed, including a more holistic view of social care for older people.
“We need the narrative to shift around social care services and make them a last resort, and instead, improve the planning system to facilitate the building of more suitable housing, with care and wellbeing services attached,” Nick added. “This is simply the only solution that will take the unsustainable pressure off hospitals and residential care.”
John Tonkiss, CEO McCarthy Stone, said news of the further delays to reform was “really troubling”, and suggested policymakers were not taking older people’s needs seriously.
John said: “The public clearly supports change – what is holding the government back? We need a robust plan for infrastructure to make sure as a country we’re better able to support older communities. We add our voice to those calling on the government to make their plans known without delay.”
Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Social Care, commented: “Since Boris Johnson first promised he had a plan to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’ more than 23 months ago, 2 million people have had their requests for care turned down, care workers and families have been stretched to breaking point, and thousands of people have had to sell their homes to pay for their care.
“After a decade of failure, the time for Conservative excuses has long passed – Ministers must bring forward plans as a matter of urgency, and provide all older and disabled people with the dignity and security they deserve.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO, Care England, added: “Yesterday’s debate in the House of Commons makes it crystal clear that Parliamentarians from all parties want certainty about when social care reform will be enacted. Care England is ready and waiting to help the Prime Minister deliver his pledge as an absolute matter of priority.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to the sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and, as set out in the Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward proposals later this year to ensure every person receives the care they need, provided with the dignity they deserve.
“We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including from people with lived experience of the care sector.”