Government’s Social Care White Paper fails to address funding and pay, says RWK Goodman
The long-awaited White Paper on Social Care reform was published by the Government today. It will disappoint and frustrate social care providers as it fails to address the lack of adequate funding into the sector and consequently the need to improve pay to attract and retain staff.
Mei-Ling Huang, a Partner in the Social Care team at law firm RWK Goodman comments:
“The Government has realised that its promise to ‘fix social care’ was a mistake. It is a task of such enormity that this White Paper looks to manage and reframe expectations. This White Paper is simply the first step in a 10-year vision and questions remain over whether it is enough to shore up a sector that is chronically under-funded.
“The White Paper does, however give a flavour of what we might expect over the next three years.”
“The White Paper says that the Government will aim to ensure that self-funders can access the same rates for care costs in care homes that local authorities pay, ending the unfairness where self-funders have to pay more for the same care, whilst ensuring local authorities move towards paying a fair cost of care to providers”.
“It is a laudable aim but does not explain how the Government will attempt to achieve this or indeed acknowledge the fact that it was long-standing Government policies that created the current two-tier system of care in the first place.”
“With only £5.4 billion of the £36 billion Health and Care Levy going to social care over a period of three years, it seems to us that the Government is tinkering around the edges of a mammoth problem but failing to address the critical issue – the fair and adequate funding for the sector.”
“They also skirt around the fact that the operations of the NHS are intrinsically linked to the smooth running of the social care system. If they want to protect the NHS, then one of the best places to start is to give social care adequate funding.