The recent election campaign showed the importance of social care to the electorate. However, with the risk of a long-term solution to social care funding becoming a political issue that is too hot to handle for a minority Government, United Kingdom Homecare Association and its members have produced the following open letter to the Prime Minister.
UKHCA’s Chair, Mike Padgham, said:
“Social care was a pivotal issue during the election and had an impact on the outcome. During this crucial period government must take a fresh look at big issues, and we urge them to make sure that social care is at the top.”
Open Letter to the Prime Minister from the Homecare Sector
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA
20th June 2017
Dear Prime Minister,
Open letter from the homecare sector
The election campaign has demonstrated that social care is a significant issue for people, requiring solutions to the short-term pressures in the system and a political consensus on long-term funding and individuals’ eligibility for state-funded care.
The signatories to this letter, and our colleagues across the country, deliver front-line homecare services. We play a leading role supporting people’s social care and healthcare needs, helping them to manage medication safely at home, supporting increasingly complex treatment alongside community health services and easing pressure on acute NHS hospitals.
We urge government to tackle an increasingly unworkable system by:
· Funding social care services at a level which meets the public’s expectations, and which ensures that public money reaches front-line services;
· Enforcing councils’ market-shaping obligations under the Care Act 2014 in England;
· Taking a strategic approach to the future funding of care, with cross party agreement, to provide clarity over financial eligibility and a cap on care costs;
· Ensuring that the current and future social care workforce is not adversely affected by the UK’s exit from the European Union.
The appendix which accompanies this letter provides more detail about these issues.
We also believe that there are a number of actions which the government could bring forward quickly to ease the pressures on homecare services and the people we support:
· Provide incentives through the tax system for people to meet their current and future care costs where they fall outside eligibility criteria, or they voluntarily choose to fund their own care.
· Require councils to conduct open and transparent cost of care exercises with their providers to ensure that councils honour their Care Act responsibilities.
· Change the VAT status of essential ‘welfare services’ from exempt to zero rated, so that care providers can reclaim their input tax and make public funds stretch further.
· Make the apprenticeship scheme work in a way which enables homecare providers to increase the number of places they can offer to train members of the domestic workforce.
· Provide an exemption from the immigration skills charge where nurses are employed by social care providers in order to deliver complex packages of care.
· Fund vanguard sites in the homecare sector to investigate new models of service delivery, on a similar basis to those developed for residential care services.
We remain committed to working with government in order to operate effective homecare services to meet the needs of older and disabled people, including our work with your colleagues in the Department of Health, though the Social Care Taskforce, and work with NHS England on reducing delayed transfers of care.
We are particularly keen to meet with your Cabinet Office colleagues developing the proposed green paper on social care, to share our insights into how new models of care can be developed to support people’s independence.
Mike Padgham, Chair, United Kingdom Homecare Association Bridget Warr CBE, Chief Executive, United Kingdom Homecare Association Richard Blyth, Managing Director, Saga Healthcare Trevor Brocklebank, CEO Emeritus, Home Instead Senior Care Scott Christie, Chief Executive, Carewatch Tim Jones, Group Director, Right at Home UK Dominique Kent, Chief Operating Officer, The Good Care Group Valerie McNab, Voluntary Board Director, Border Caring Services Lesley C Megarity, Chief Executive, Domestic Care Group Anne O’Rourke, Managing Director, Caremark Limited Deepesh Patel, Director, Radis Community Care Sushil Radia, Managing Director, Westminster Homecare Limited Narinder Singh, Chief Executive, MiHomecare & Complete Care Mike Smith, Managing Director, Trinity Homecare Raina Summerson, Chief Executive, Agincare Group Claude Suppiah, Managing Director, ANA Nursing Dr Jane Townson, Chief Executive, Somerset Care Group Richard Walker, Chief Executive, Optimo Care Group Ltd Fiona Williams, Director of Operations, Bluebird Care