The release of the Operation Yellowhammer document has revealed that the Government fears a no-deal Brexit could ‘significantly’ impact on social care providers due to increasing staff and supply costs. It even warns of provider failure.
The Independent Care Group says the publication of the document is further evidence of the dangers to the care of older and vulnerable people post Brexit and the need to tackle the crisis urgently.
Chair Mike Padgham said: “There is already huge uncertainty over social care’s ability to recruit staff post-Brexit.
“This latest document lays bare the Government’s fear that the sector is going to be further affected by rising costs after a no-deal Brexit. Whilst it sets out the potential issues, it does not offer solutions.”
He said providers had been warning for years over the crisis in social care, which has left 1.4m people unable to get the care they need after £8bn was cut from local authority social care budgets since 2010. Care and nursing homes are closing and homecare agencies are handing back contracts because they are untenable to deliver.
“The crisis in social care cannot be allowed to continue,” Mr Padgham added. “The proposed Green Paper has been kicked into the long grass until at least the end of the year and we are facing a very difficult future, which the Yellowhammer document suggests could be ten times worse.
“Older and vulnerable adults deserve better and we call on the Government to act swiftly and save social care.”
The ICG has written to the Prime Minister inviting him to visit social care providers on the frontline at its base in North Yorkshire to see the challenges facing the sector. It is calling for urgent action to be taken straight away to get extra funding into social care. It argues that there is a human case and an economic case for supporting social care. Support for social care eases pressure on the NHS by keeping people out of costly NHS hospital beds. The sector employs 1.62m – more than the NHS – and contributes £40.5bn to the economy.
The ICG says the past 17 years has seen 13 documents – four independent reviews/commissions, four consultations and five white and green papers on care. It argues that action, rather than further discussion, is now overdue.