Commenting on the Select Committee report into social care, Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:
We welcome the Select Committee’s recognition that reform to our social care system does not simply need small tweaks, but large-scale rethinking of how it affects those who use it.
The report particularly acknowledges the need for a long-term funding increase to social care – this needs to be implemented urgently, particularly in light of the impacts of COVID-19.
We know from our Helpline that people in later life and their families feel the current system is unfair, opaque and incredibly stressful to deal with. Significant funding reform would take away some of these barriers, easing the burden on family carers, and supporting people to get help earlier and stay in their own homes for longer. Independent Age has long advocated for care to be free at the point of use to those receiving social care, paid for through general taxation. Within this principle there are a number of options, including making all social care free, or making some elements free, such as personal care. We’re pleased that the committee has considered this, alongside recommendations to introduce a cap on care costs which could be acted on quickly.
However, funding reform alone will not address the shortfalls and inequalities that exist within the system. We also echo the Committee’s call to urgently provide appropriate pay, professional career structures and parity with NHS colleagues for the social care workforce.
This goes hand-in-hand with a need for the Government to create transitional arrangements for social care workers to continue to be recruited from overseas, to ensure that the continuity of care provision isn't undermined and the social care workforce is not exhausted, putting those who need care at risk.