‘Grasp the nettle of social care funding’ says care group

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Elderly Panorama-Care Industry News (250 x 156)

The Independent Care Group says a recent report, by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, was the final wake up call to a situation which is leaving people without the daily care they need.

Politicians from all sides are calling for a health and care tax to properly fund NHS care and social care and for a fresh commission into the future of health and social care.

The Independent Care Group today called on everyone involved in the care of older and vulnerable adults to work together urgently to solve the problems.

The King’s Fund report said years of cutbacks to local authority budgets had left an increasing number of people without any support and providers on the brink of closing down.

Reductions in fees paid by local authorities and cost pressures like the National Living Wage are putting the future of care provision at risk. The report warned of a £2.8 billion funding gap by 2019/20 as public spending on adult social care shrinks to less than 1 per cent of GDP.

The Independent Care Group is itself currently in discussion with its local authority, North Yorkshire County Council, and the NHS over future fee levels paid for care.

The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “The sector has been warning the Government for years that social care is in crisis and this latest independent report lays bare the true scale of the problem and the dire need for urgent action now to protect the vulnerable.

“Cutback after cutback is leaving social care unable to deliver care to a population where demand is rising. Providers are walking away from local authority contracts because they are not viable to deliver and, in worst case scenarios, are at severe risk of closure because they can no longer afford to operate.

“We, as a country, have to face up to the fact that we are not funding care properly. Fewer and fewer people are receiving the care they need and we are not paying the workforce who deliver that care properly.

“The Government has to address the funding issue, divert funds from the NHS and, though nobody wants to pay more taxes, it might have to come to that if we want to provide the proper care that our citizens have a right to expect in the 21st century.”

He said it was down to everyone involved to play a part in addressing the situation.

“This is an excellent report and we fully support and back its findings. But we don’t need any more reports, we need action. What we have to do now is work together – and that means everyone: the Government, local authorities, providers and the public – to address this crisis,” he added.

“MPs from all political parties agree that something has to be done and it has to be done urgently.”

The last six years has seen more than £5bn cut from social care budgets and the amount local authorities pay to providers to offer care has been savagely cut back. The National Living Wage has also added a huge burden to providers, prompting many to fear for the future.

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