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MPs say credible care plan must be in place by end of 2018

09 May 2018

The adult social care workforce in England.

Following on from yesterday’s Resolution Foundation report on the problems of long term funding of social care, this Public Accounts Committee report warns about the urgent action required now to sustain the social care system.

Key findings

The adult social care sector is underfunded, with the care workforce suffering from low pay, low esteem and high turnover of staff.

The Department of Health and Social Care has not yet said how it intends to put in place a long-term, sustainable funding regime to meet the ever-increasing demand for care.

The Department does not know whether the ways that local authority’s commission care, and the prices they pay providers, are contributing to the problems within the care workforce.

Doubts that lack of regulation within the care sector workforce and the balance of regulation versus a market-based approach, is supporting the care sector to provide the best care possible.

Brexit raises questions of how the care work force will be sustained.

There is an urgent need to reverse the poor public image that care work has, to boost recruitment and retention across the care sector.

Supporting people with substantive and critical care needs only is contributing to growing levels of unmet need for people with moderate care needs, which, because of this, may grow into substantial or critical needs if support is not given.

The Department of Health and Social Care is placing too much faith in the forthcoming Green Paper as a cure all and underestimates the scale of the challenge. The Department must ensure that its delivery partner, Skills for Care, is properly supported and funded to implement the workforce strategy

Recommendations

  • Green Paper must not be the start of yet another protracted debate about the future funding of care. The Department should publish a credible plan, by the end of 2018, and implement it swiftly.

  • Within two months the Department should write to the Committee to explain how it intends to:
  1. respond to the findings of the CQC local system reviews;

  2. understand how well all local authorities are commissioning care; and

  3. develop and improve its role overseeing and engaging with the social care market, with the CQC adequately resourced to carry out any further work.
  • Department needs to understand fully the impact of Brexit and put plans in place to address any shortfalls that might arise, to ensure that there is a sustainable workforce to meet the populations’ future care needs.

  • The Department should set out in the forthcoming workforce strategy how it intends to professionalise the care workforce further and consider a mandatory minimum standard for training as part of this.

  • The Department should establish and secure the funding Skills for Care needs both to support the training and development of the care workforce fully and to implement the forthcoming workforce strategy.

  • The Department and Skills for Care should confirm when they will run the national campaign to promote care. They should ensure it is ambitious in scale and scope, seek to change the public narrative around care from overwhelmingly negative to positive, and have senior involvement from the Department.