Kate Allen: Has the Prime Minister ‘fixed the social care crisis’ as he promised to do?
The big question: Has the Prime Minister ‘fixed the social care crisis’ as he promised to do?
I like to think I had realistic expectations, so I was never expecting a solution that would solve everything and keep everyone happy. That was never going to happen, and so it could be argued that I was not overly disappointed this week!
Trying to be objective… I am pleased to hear there will be greater investment in social care; I am pleased it is an area under focus and I’m genuinely grateful for some (any) action that sees change. As the Prime Minister himself noted, this has been “ducked for decades” and social care has been under-funded and struggling for as long.
Although, like most people I had been hoping there might be some creative way of addressing the much needed social care reform without the need for taxation, or should I say levy. Is it unrealistic to expect any government (I will try to keep this party-political unbiased) to find the investment needed to reform and transform the social care model, without introducing a process to generate some of that income?
The reality is that the 1.25% national insurance levy will impact on those already struggling to make their salaries cover their expenditure. Any reduction in take home pay will have an impact and makes our campaign #BetterPay4SocialCare even more relevant. The national insurance levy will increase the pressure on social care employers too. I am keen now to see details. And I want to be assured that the investment will come through in the commissioning and the rates providers receive for the provision of support, so that responsible providers can pass the increase onto their employees and cover the associated costs. I would have been more reassured if the Prime Minister had directly referred to tangible salary increases and actions that would, at least, help to tackle the 100,000 vacancies that currently exist in social care and the 34% who leave the marketplace each year.
Finally, whilst I have huge appreciation and respect for our NHS, I was disappointed that yet again the NHS appeared to dominate announcements and future plans. It was supposed to be a Social Care Statement, yet it felt very much like (another) ‘save our NHS’ statement. Even taking into account that this was a thought through approach to gain public support, for me it missed the point by a long way. This country needs to really appreciate its social care system and those who work within it. We need to respect our social care employees and employers more because, in my mind, not to respect them is not respecting the people they support.
Despite the growing number of cases amongst the general public, there has been little change in our Covid-19 position this week. There are no Covid positive cases amongst people we support or employees at present; we have one member of staff self-isolating pending a PCR test rest.