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No-deal Brexit could lead to social care provider failures, report warns

BREXIT

A government report has revealed the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on the social care sector.

The Operation Yellowhammer worst case planning assumptions, which were revealed following pressure from opposition MPs, acknowledged the “fragile” state of the social care market and warn no-deal could put care providers out of business.

The five page document, which was classified as ‘sensitive’ and has been redacted, said: “The adult social market is already fragile due to declining financial viability of providers.

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“An increase in inflation following EU exit would significantly impact adult social care providers due to increasing staff and supply costs, and may lead to provider failure, with smaller provides impacted within 2-3 months and larger providers 4-6 months after exit.”

The report warns of “concurrent localised risks” such as transport or staff disruption further stretching provider resources.

Independent Care Group (ICG) Chair Mike Padgham said: “There is already huge uncertainty over social care’s ability to recruit staff post-Brexit.

“This latest document lays bare the Government’s fear that the sector is going to be further affected by rising costs after a no-deal Brexit. Whilst it sets out the potential issues, it does not offer solutions.”

The ICG is calling for immediate extra funding to support the sector.

Nadra Ahmed OBE, executive chairman of the National Care Association, told CHP: “The fragility of social care is not a product of Brexit, however, the impact of no deal will almost certainly have consequences for a sector which has for so long been neglect by local and national politician. Commentators wax lyrical about the time scales before we see closures well, just in case they haven’t noticed, we are facing them right now. The crippling recruitment issues coupled with unrealistic fee settlements have kept providers at the brink of closures for many years before the Brexit vote, all that this may do it tip them over the edge!

“There is no doubt that Operation Yellowhammer and other documents of its nature warn of the disruption which will be caused and we are working with our providers to keep them informed of the potential disruption which they may face. Local authorities have been funded to support local business and so it is imperative that social care is seen as sector which will need to be consulted with to ensure that the vulnerable citizens we care for  are supported through what may be a turbulent period for the nation.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson added: “Our priority is to make sure people continue to receive the highest standards of care and have access to the medicines they need when we leave the EU on 31st October, whatever the circumstances.

“We are working across government, local government and with national partners to do everything appropriate to prepare. We want EU social care workers to stay and we would encourage them to join the one million people already granted status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

“Our new immigration system will ensure our health and care sector has the skilled staff it needs to provide the excellent care patients deserve.”

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The author Lee Peart

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