The Care Workers’ Charity Responds to PM Social Care Statement
We welcome the commitment of the Prime Minister to increasing funding to social care as this has been desperately needed by the sector for a very long time. We are, however, very worried about the ambiguity of his statement, and unsure as to how much of the money raised by the levy he proposed will go to directly to frontline social care. We are outraged that it appears only a very small proportion of the money promised will in fact go to social care. The sector urgently needs clarification and confirmation with regards to how much money will be directed to social care- if the healthcare-centred statement today is any indication of the proportion of funding the social care sector might expect to receive, then there is very little hope of any real reform and/or improvements benefiting the sector, its workforce and the quality of care received by those who draw on social care provision.
The Care Workers’ Charity is extremely disappointed that the statement made today was predominantly centred around the NHS, healthcare and health needs- as healthcare services do not, and indeed could not, exist in a vacuum. The social care sector occupies a vital role in health and care provision, the wider society and UK economy- not least in the provision of high quality, person centred care for those who access its services. The Prime Minister greatly praised the role and work of the “amazing” NHS and healthcare staff during the pandemic, but appeared to have forgotten the social care sector and its workforce who have given their all with very little recognition, respect and appreciation received in return. Unfortunately, this set the tone for content of the rest of his statement, and once again healthcare remained the focus and primary beneficiary of the proposed plans and policies. We would encourage the Prime Minister, and the Department of Health and Social Care, to make additional statements to clarify its position and plans for the social care sector with the utmost urgency.
Furthermore, the proposed integration between health and social care revisited in the statement today is an ongoing concern for The Care Workers’ Charity. The Bill earlier this year was very clearly driven by the needs of the healthcare system, prioritising the NHS at the expense of social care. For the integration goals of the Bill to be deliverable, the social care sector and its professionals need be given the same parity, status and recognition as the NHS- but nowhere in the statement made today were the social care workforce mentioned or indeed praised for their continued skill and dedication.
The Charity paid out £2.2 million last year to social care workers in crisis, filling the huge gap between their salary and living costs. This devastating figure represents the failings of the current social care system, and the dire need for real reform that properly recognises and respects the workforce, increases funding to providers and local councils, and treats the sector with the respect it so rightly deserves.
Following his initial statement, the Prime Minister commented that his was “the party that tackles social care [and] the party of the NHS”- for too long the social care sector and its workforce have been sidelined and problematised by successive Governments. We call on the Prime Minister to urgently revisit his statement to ensure a parity of esteem between health and social care, and to shape his reform plans to deliver the funding and professionalisation the sector so desperately needs.
Karolina Gerlich, CEO of The Care Workers’ Charity