The Independent Care Group says the country needs urgent clarity on how the government is going to tackle social care and help the 1.2m people currently living without the care they need.
A rapid resolution of the political leadership of the UK is urgent, so that a new Government can build a consensus to secure proper funding of care services and to ensure there is a sufficient social care workforce following exit from the European Union, according to the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) as the result of the UK’s 2017 general election was announced
Mike Padgham Chair of The Independent Care Group and UKHCA says the crisis in social care – a key issue in the General Election – must not be abandoned or forgotten when the new Government is formed.
Mr Padgham said: “Nothing has changed overnight, there are still 1.2m people going without care and the crisis in the sector remains. For the sake of those 1.2m and the many hundreds of thousands more who will need care in the coming months and years we have to have a clear strategy on social care and we have to have it now.
“Yes, there will be a million things for the new government to deal with but social care played a pivotal role in this election campaign and cannot and must not be forgotten now.”
He said the country needed to know if the Conservative manifesto proposal – including a £100,000 financial threshold and an undisclosed cap on care costs – was going to become a policy for the government.
“If the Conservatives are to form the next government then we need to know if their manifesto pledges on social care are to go ahead and, crucially, what that cap on care costs is going to be so that people are clear on the future,” he added.
“And we hope they will now listen to the issues on care as there are many things that weren’t in the manifesto that need to be tackled. We are only too happy to help any party that might form the next government to get to grips with the crisis, for the good of older and vulnerable adults in this country.”
As Chair of UKHCA, Mike Padgham, said:
“Social care has been a key issue in the election campaign. There is too much at stake for social care to remain an undervalued service. As a new government is formed, a senior minister for social care is needed, to achieve cross-party agreement and drive though the changes which are urgently needed.
“The population will look to our next government to ensure that care is properly funded to meet their needs. People need to be clear about what the state will provide, and what they must fund themselves for their long term care.”
A hung parliament means pledges from the parties’ manifestos, including the Conservative election proposals to introduce a £100,000 financial threshold for people using homecare in England and a cap on care costs, are likely to be subject to considerable debate and scrutiny. So many people are affected by social care that our next government must provide a system which works and is acceptable to the public.
The previous Conservative government had committed to publishing a green paper on social care in England. We will look to the next government to move quickly in gaining cross-party consensus and take action. UKHCA’s Manifesto 2017 (note 3) contains key issues that a green paper should cover, including:
- Requiring councils and the health service to offer home-based care as the first option for all their citizens and patients;
- Funding care services properly, and ensuring that a statutory regulator is empowered to take action where local care markets risk becoming unsustainable; and
- Implementing incentives for individuals and their families to encourage people to make sound financial plans for their care needs.
The new government must also ensure that the Care Act 2014 is properly implemented by local councils in England. This should include a provision that councils are held accountable for the way that their decisions impact on local care markets.
Turning to Brexit negotiations, Mike Padgham continued:
“Uncertainly about the social care workforce must be resolved as part of the Government’s pressing responsibility to negotiate the UK’s exit from the European Union. A well-functioning care system will only be fit for purpose if the nation’s social care and health services can recruit a sufficient workforce for the needs of our population as we leave the EU.
“UKHCA will work with the new government, devolved administrations and other parliamentarians, to ensure that people who qualify for state-funded care benefit from properly funded services and everyone can make informed decisions on their future care needs.”