Reflecting on the Reform of Adult Social Care
Last month we shared with you a summary from The Kings Fund, of the Department of Health and Social Care’s most recent White Paper that was published on 11th February 2021.
While there are some things to welcome from the White Paper, the social care system continues to face many challenges that will not be fully addressed by these proposals, including chronic staff shortages, deep health inequalities and an urgent need for long-term reform of social care. There is a pressing need for the government to chart a way out of these deep-seated challenges.
“The last 12 months have been possibly the toughest ever for the care sector; they have also been the ones with the greatest ever focus on social care. Providers and their amazing staff have been at the forefront of this dreadful pandemic and, out of all the misery, pain and destruction, I am determined to use the spotlight that has been shone on our sector to bring about something positive – namely, change.” Care England’s CEO, Professor Martin Green OBE
Staff shortages in social care has always been a challenge. Our workforce is our best resource. Care should be a career of choice and be on par with careers in the NHS in terms of access to training, resources and benefits.
With commissioners’ rates being worryingly low and much of the COVID-19 relief funds that have simply not reached the front line, it is difficult for providers to sustain their quality of care. The reform needs to audit the delivery of funds such as these and it is important that everything is commissioned for outcomes that can be measured by the impact on the individual.
The impact of COVID-19 on people with learning disabilities has been appalling, in some cases they have been invisible. For example, people with learning disabilities weren’t even classed as a priority group for the vaccine. It is important that any new regulatory approach is informed by a fair and proportionate framework enabling providers the ability to speak up against inequalities, inaccuracies and have the ability to request reassessment.
As a sector we need to come together and keep putting the pressure on, by using the past 12 months as momentum to shine a light on how much social care delivers in our communities. By using membership bodies and charities such as VODG and Care England, we can get our voices heard, this is how we can get these key messages to central government.
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