Better care for older and vulnerable adults, and a recognition of the importance to communities of social care, must be a general election issue, a top spokesman for the sector is to tell a major conference.
Mike Padgham will tell delegates in York that the country is chronically under-funding the care of the country’s most vulnerable people.
And he will warn that unless the situation changes, standards will fall, more care services within the community will close and more and more people will go without the care they need.
He will challenge all political parties to make improving social care part of their manifesto, alongside the NHS, for next May’s election.
Mr Padgham will make the call at the 10th anniversary conference for the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire) at York Racecourse on 7th October.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, will be key note speakers at the event.
Mr Padgham, the group’s chair, said: “The population is getting older and people are living longer. Their care needs are getting more complex and so demand for care is going up and up. At the same time people’s expectations are getting higher and inspections getting tougher and it is getting more and more difficult to recruit staff.
“We are in the eye of a perfect storm but there is no money to properly fund the social care sector and so instead of rising to meet new demands, less care is being commissioned by local authorities, fewer people are receiving the care they need, care services are closing and standards are falling.
“Unless politicians wake up and see that this is serious and make it a manifesto issue for the election, I can only see it getting worse.”
Dr Sentamu, will officially open the conference. Andrea Sutcliffe will then bring delegates up to date with sweeping social care inspection changes coming in this autumn.
Other key speakers will include David Pearson, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS); Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council Director of Health and Adult Services and Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, City of York Council Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Health and Wellbeing.
There will also be a debate at the conference on the role of the media in delivering social care, chaired by BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration.
The Independent Care Group is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and Mr Padgham added: “It is depressing that throughout the 10-year history of the Independent Care Group, we have been fighting to get proper funding to look after the country’s older and vulnerable people.
“And yet a sector that has been under-funded now for a generation has seen things get worse and worse during the recession.
“We need to see the country treat social care properly and to better balance its funding and that of other NHS healthcare.
“It makes sense – if you invest more in making sure people get the care they need at home or in care homes, they won’t end up in costly NHS hospital beds – it isn’t rocket science.”