A damning report into the current state of homecare provides evidence that urgent action is needed to prevent a crisis in the care of older and vulnerable people at home, a leading social care advocate said today.
Mike Padgham says the publication of the Key to Care investigation into domiciliary care exposes a system that is starved of investment and failing those who need the care and those who provide it.
And he says that unless swift action is taken, homecare will tip over into the crisis the Key to Care report warns of. It is vital that the Government and local authorities take the report seriously, he warns, as time is running out.
The report, produced by the Local Government Information Unit, reports that more and more people are needing care but that there is not enough money in the system to provide it and not enough people in the homecare workforce to offer it.
Prepared by a Commission chaired by Paul Burstow MP former minister for Care, the report warns that it is only a matter of time before there is a major home care scandal.
Mr Padgham, Chair of the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire) said: “Here we have the evidence that at present homecare is failing both those who need it and those who provide it.
“Because there is no money in the system, we cannot create a proper, professional workforce that is properly rewarded and motivated to provide an excellent service.
“Instead we have teams of committed, compassionate and well-meaning individuals doing their best for their clients in a system that is close to breaking point.”
He backed the report when it called for the creation of “a professional, well-paid, well-trained and properly regulated workforce who can provide the quality of care at home that people need”.
“Social care commissioners, like local authorities, and the Government, have to recognise that more needs to be invested into social care so that providers are paid a fair price for the care they provide,” he added.
“Only then can we see an end to the situation where you have care workers, some paid the minimum wage, some not paid for travel time, dashing from client to client and in some cases limited to a cursory 15-minutes visit to provide someone with care that is supposed to offer dignity and independence.
“Enabling people to live independently in their own home is a central plank of current Government policy. Here we have evidence that it is not happening at the moment.
“The independent sector, which provides the vast majority of care provision, has the skills, abilities and flexibility to do the job, it just lacks the commitment and investment from government to make it happen.”