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PANORAMA CRISIS IN CARE: Care provider backs BBC expose of broken system

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Not for profit care provider Somerset Care has voiced its support for a two-part Panorama expose of the social care crisis.

The residential and domiciliary care provider featured prominently in the programme, which focused on the social care funding challenges faced by Somerset County Council and the impact on the lives of residents, their families and care operators.

A spokesperson for Somerset Care said: “These films concentrate on the lack of funding for adult social care and the need to reform the system, and very powerfully highlight the impact this has on the people that rely on organisations like us for support.

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“Somerset County Council made the brave decision to invite the cameras in, and as their biggest provider, Somerset Care felt it was important to support them in raising such an important issue.”

Somerset Care said the documentary highlighted how care providers were “stuck between a rock and a hard place” in trying to provide “essential services to people who are reliant on our support when the funding often doesn’t even cover our costs”.

The provider is shown having to close domiciliary services and its Popham Court care home due to funding and operational challenges.

Filmed in September 2018, the programme features former Somerset Care CEO Jane Townson telling BBC journalist Alison Holt: “I’ve been on the board of Somerset Care for seven years. And at no point has the home not made a loss. We’ve been losing money for years and we’re talking hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Jane, who has since become interim chief executive of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, said self-funders subsidising the lower fees paid by councils in care homes had become endemic.

“We completely disagree with this, as a matter of principle…. It is a national problem and it is wrong, but what can you do if you want to keep the whole care sector afloat?” Jane said.

Commenting on the documentaries, Hilary Crowhurst, Executive Director of Operations and Development at learning disability care provider, Hft, said: “Over the past two weeks, Panorama has done more to raise awareness of the challenges being faced by the social care sector than any of our leading politicians. We need to look at adult social care in all of its parts – working age adults as well as the elderly. This is a national crisis that requires a national solution.

“It is clear that the current system is simply not delivering the best outcomes for anybody involved in social care. With the continued delays to the government Green Paper, providers, commissioners, families and people supported by the sector need to work together to find innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges we face.”

Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, told us: “Panorama has clearly shown that people are really suffering because of lack of funding in social care. Social care is in crisis and the government needs to act immediately to deliver a long-term and sustainable funding solution.”

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The author Lee Peart

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