Cuts in Social Care
The long-promised Johnson “plan” to deal with the crisis in social care, which he claimed to have had ready-made in the summer of 2019 has been pushed back to the end of the year, while much more limited proposals to “cap” the total costs payable have been published and forced through Parliament within a few days. It will not be a great surprise to readers to find that the “cap” is not all it claims to be – and that most people, especially the poorest who lack savings and a home to sell – will feel no benefit from it at all
The problems of the increasingly dysfunctional, largely privatised social care system have been significantly worsened since Covid and Brexit, with an exodus of staff and increased problems in recruiting to low-paid stressful jobs often at unsocial hours.
A survey for ITV News report on September 2 found 78% of providers who responded said recruiting carers is the hardest it has ever been. Because of the staffing crisis, 95% of providers said they are unable to take on all the new clients in need of their help, while 30% of the 843 providers surveyed said they are handing back some, or all, of their care to local authorities because they can no longer fulfil their contracts. ITV News reported having seen lists of people who are waiting more than three months to have a provider assigned to them.
So while the Health and Care Bill seeks to remove the legal requirement to assess vulnerable patients’ needs prior to discharge, the lack of functional social care is likely to block any more rapid discharge of patients. Tackling part of the problem, and denying the scale and complexity of the issues that have arisen from a decade of under-funding and rounds of ill-conceived legislation limiting international recruitment, still leaves a health and care system deep in crisis.
From Health Campaigns Together, October 2021
Many thanks to Health Campaigns Together for the above update. Much more info can be found in the Health Campaigns Together monthly bulletin here, and also on the links we have collated below
From national KONP:
Campaign for a National Care, Support and Independent Living Service (NaCSILS): SEVEN DEMANDS
England’s social care is broken. 26% fewer people are supported than in 2010, while demand soars. People face isolation, indignity, maltreatment, neglect, barriers to inclusion and independent living. Care is marketised and privatised. Many small providers have folded; care homes are increasingly managed by unstable corporates and hedge funds that often deliver poor care in large institutional settings while extracting massive offshore profits. Disabled and elderly people who need social care and support face high charges, leaving thousands in poverty. Care and support doesn’t reflect users’ needs or wishes. Staff wages, training and conditions are at rock bottom – turnover exceeds 30%. 8 million unpaid, overworked family carers, including children and elderly relatives, provide vital support.
1. National Care Support and Independent Living Service (NaCSILS)
The Government shall have responsibility for and duty to provide a National Care and Supported Living Service to provide care, independent and supported living, adopting into English Law Articles from the UN Convention on rights of disabled people that establish choice and control, dignity and respect, at the heart of person-centred planning.
2. Fully funded through government investment and progressive taxation, free at the point of need and fully available to everyone living in this country.
3. Publicly provided and publicly accountable: The NaCSILS will have overall responsibility for publicly provided residential homes and service providers and, where appropriate, for the supervision of not-for-profit organisations and user-led cooperatives funded through grants allocated by the NaCSILS. A long-term strategy would place an emphasis on de-institutionalisation and community-based independent and supported living. All provision will deliver to NaCSILS national standards. There will be no place for profiteering and the market in social care will be brought to an end.
4. Mandated nationally, locally delivered: The Government will be responsible for developing within the principles of co-production, a nationally mandated set of services that will be democratically run, designed, and delivered locally. Local partnerships would be led by stakeholders who are delivering, monitoring, referring to or receiving supported services or budgets, e.g. organisations representing disabled people (DPOs), older people, and people who use mental health and other services, in partnership with local authorities and the NHS.
5. Identify and address needs of informal carers, family and friends providing personal support:
The NaCSILS will ensure a comprehensive level of support freeing up family members from personal and/or social support tasks so that the needs of those offering informal support, e.g. family and friends, are acknowledged in ways which value each person’s lifestyles, interests, and contributions.
6. National NaCSILS employee strategy fit for purpose: The NaCSLS standards for independent and supported living will be underpinned by care and support staff or personal assistants who have appropriate training, qualifications, career structure, pay and conditions to reflect the skills required to provide support services worthy of a decent society.
7. Support the formation of a taskforce on independent and supported living with a meaningful influence, led by those who require independent living support, from all demographic backgrounds and regions. This would also make recommendations to address wider changes in public policy.
Keep Our NHS Public, Socialist Health Association, July 2020
A pdf version of the above seven demands is here
A motion for your organisation:
This (organisation/party branch/union branch etc) demands the Government establish and new National Care, Support and Independent Living Service (NaCSILS) which is:
• Publicly funded, free at the point of use
• Publicly provided, not for profit
• Nationally mandated but designed and delivered locally
• Co- produced with service users and democratically accountable
• Underpinned by staff whose pay & conditions reflects true value and skills
• Designed to meet the needs of informal carers
• And sets up a taskforce on independent living
Health and Care Bill 2021
Written evidence was submitted to MPs appointed to examine the Bill during committee stage (late summer / autumn 2021). 83 written submissions were sent to this committee, and these can all be viewed on the UK Parliament website here . One of the submissions is from the British Association of Social Workers, and this is linked here as it provides an important insight into concerns re future health and social care provision, from a professional social work perspective.
Health Services Journal (13th January 2022) Hospital trust launches as social care provider
Tribune (19th November 2021) Outsourcing is Killing Social Care
The lowdown (18th October 2021) The privatisation of social care
The Lowdown (18th October 2021) Care worker shortage will increase NHS waiting lists
The Guardian (14th October 2021) Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years
The Guardian (13th October 2021) NHS faces beds crisis as care homes stop taking patients from hospitals
BBC News (13th October 2021) Care staff shortage worse than before pandemic, study shows
The Guardian (14th September 2021) Multinational care companies are the real winners from Johnson’s new tax – article by Prof Allyson Pollock
The Guardian (12th September) Social care plan will help just a tenth of UK’s older people in need
National KONP (9th September 2021) Government fails to offer any plans to transform ‘social care’
The Guardian (7th September 2021) Boris Johnson’s plan to ‘fix the crisis in social care’ is no game changer
The Guardian (4th September 2021) Care workers in England leaving for Amazon and other better-paid jobs
The Guardian (24th August 2021) Volunteers may be required in staffing shortfall at English care homes