Care group seeks urgent talks with new minister

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Alistair Burt MP
Alistair Burt MP

A leading social care group is seeking an urgent meeting with a new government Minister to look at how the care of older and vulnerable adults can be protected in coming years.

The Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire) wants to meet Health Minister Alistair Burt to talk about the state of the social care sector.

It is worried that predicted further cuts to local authority spending will harm a sector that has already suffered badly during the economic downturn.

And it wants to press the new minister to give social care the same protection that is afforded to NHS spending. It is also concerned about the dire shortage of nurses which is having a detrimental impact on all healthcare across the country.

The group’s chair, Mike Padgham said: “We congratulate Mr Burt on his appointment to the post and wish him well as he takes up the reins of the social care portfolio.

“We recognise that as the new Government hits its stride, there is just a narrow window of opportunity to present the case for improved social care.

“Since 2010, £3.5bn has been taken from the social care system due to cuts to local authority budgets, leaving vast numbers of people without the care they need in care homes or their own home.

“We have to guard against this pattern being repeated in the next five years and the independent sector is eager to work with the government to seek out solutions.

“As a group we fear that further cuts to local authority spending will continue and potentially worsen this situation and want to meet with Mr Burt to talk about how this can be avoided.

“In the north, for example, there is a real problem with care home bed capacity failing to meet increasing demand and that is a very serious issue for anyone in need of a care home.

“The Government pledged to find the extra £8bn a year for the NHS but there have been no  similar pledges to find the estimated extra £4.3bn a year social care is expected to need by 2020.

“This is wrong and we will be pressing the Minister to at the very least ring-fence spending on social care so that we do not begin a new parliament with some of the country’s oldest and most vulnerable adults not getting the care they need and deserve.”

Before the election, the Group launched its own manifesto, calling for:

  • Ring-fenced funding for social care provision
  • The merging of health and social care into a nationally-run, single department
  • A cabinet post to be created for health and social care
  • A realistic system where people don’t have to sell their home to pay for care
  • Dementia to be treated as a healthcare need and therefore funded by the NHS
  • The Care Quality Commission to inspect those who buy care – like local authorities
  • Statutory periods of notice before care providers can be closed down
  • Incentives to providers to improve standards
  • Better partnerships with local authorities and health trusts
  • Minimum agreed tariffs for an hour of home care and for care home bed stays
  • Work towards paying staff at least the Living Wage
  • Care providers to be able to reclaim VAT.

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