BGS responds to ‘People at the Heart of Care: Adult Social Care Reform White Paper'
The Government has published People at the Heart of Care: Adult Social Care Reform White Paper, setting out plans for reforming social care in England over the next decade. These plans include additional funding for the social care workforce and to embed digital technology into the social care sector.
Responding to the White Paper, Dr Jennifer Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society, said:
This White Paper has been a long time coming and the social care sector in England will be relieved to finally have some insight into the Government’s plans in this area. The White Paper sets out an ambition for social care to be more person-focused and to support people to remain independent and while we welcome this focus, we fear that these plans and the associated funding will not be sufficient to address the social care needs of older people across England. We are pleased to see that the Government has prioritised the development of the social care workforce but £500million over a three year period is not sufficient to cover a workforce of 1.65 million people. Far greater investment will be needed in the social care workforce if this White Paper is to reach its full potential. Similarly, a specific focus on reducing the risk of falls and deconditioning in older people is a positive step but £3million over three years is a drop in the ocean of what is required to address the increased level of need as a result of the pandemic.
‘While it is good to see the Government thinking ahead over a ten-year period, we are concerned that the White Paper does nothing to address the immediate crisis in social care. Older people are the biggest user group of social care services. The severe shortage of both care home and domiciliary care staff has a direct impact on the lives of many older people, particularly those who are unable to get home from hospital or temporary care home placements because of the lack of available rehabilitation and home care. We highlighted the human cost of these delays through our Timely Discharge blog series. We urge the Government to act immediately to provide the sector with stability over the winter months by giving social care staff a pay rise and a financial bonus and adding care workers to the Shortage Occupation List."