Charities welcome announcement of social care workforce winter funding, but warn that long term funding and reform remain crucial
July 28, 2023
An alliance of over 60 of England’s leading charities has welcomed the news that previously pledged investment in the sector will support recruitment and retention of staff, but said long-term sustainable funding and reform is still needed to properly address systemic challenges.
The Government said the £600 million funding will support the social care workforce and boost capacity, therefore supporting the NHS ahead of winter and into next year.
The investment includes a £570 million workforce fund over two years, distributed to local authorities, and £30 million funding for local authorities in what the Department of Health and Social Care described as “the most challenged health systems”.
The funding will work alongside the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, the department said, “to build a stronger overall foundation for the health and social care workforce.
The Care and Support Alliance (CSA) have been critical of the Government announcement in April 2023 that workforce training, qualifications and wellbeing would be backed by £250 million, just half of the £500 million originally promised for this purpose in 2021. A promised £300 million to transform housing options was also replaced by £102 million for smaller in-home adaptations.
In response, the Government insisted no funding for the adult social care sector had been removed or reallocated to the NHS and said the remaining £600 million had simply “not yet been allocated”.
Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK and co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said:
“We welcome that this fund has finally been released ahead of what could be a very tough winter for health and care services, but particularly for older and disabled people who need social care services, as well as their families who often prop things up at huge cost to their own health and wellbeing. We hope that we’ll start to see some benefit in terms of better outcomes for everyone.
“But we still need to see the other promised innovation funds delivered that we’re waiting for 20 months on.
“We’re left with some of the longer-term issues that still need to be resolved if social care is to be fixed. We need a long-term social care workplan akin to the NHS plan, that delivers the sustainable change that we need in social care and gives local authorities and providers the vision they need to plan and deliver great services. And we need social care to be funded much better overall, and sustainably, so that local authorities and local services are not hampered by short term funding and are able to plan securely into the future.
“We all know what a huge difference great social care services make to people’s lives, improving older and disabled people’s lives, boosting jobs, including disabled people’s ability to work, helping local economies, as well as giving unpaid carers the peace of mind and support to be able to stay in paid employment longer.”
Happy Birthday NHS! CSA calls on political leaders to give the NHS the gift of a functioning social care system
June 30, 2023
5th July 2023 is the NHS’ 75th birthday. We can’t imagine life without it – but unfortunately, our NHS is facing increasing pressure from the catastrophic issues facing social care.
“A crucial part of the ongoing health of the NHS is having a social care system that ensures people get the care they need to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.”
1 in every 10 social care posts are vacant. This means more and more people are struggling to get the right support to stay healthy and independent at home. Some of them end up in hospital, or added to already lengthy NHS waiting lists.
After treatment, up to 13,000 people who are fit to be discharged are instead stuck in hospital on any given day in England. This is because the care which would allow them to recover at home isn’t in place.
The lack of affordable, available social care also places huge pressure on unpaid carers. Caring responsibilities leave many feeling exhausted, burnt out, and struggling with their own health.
The best birthday gift the NHS could receive on its 75th birthday would be social care that truly works for everyone.
We are asking our political leaders to commit to proper funding and reform for the social care system. So, we’re sending them birthday cards from all our members to remind them they can’t keep ignoring social care, and to ask them to finally make an honest commitment to fix it once and for all.
Read our birthday message below:
Treating over a million people a day in England, the NHS touches all our lives, and none of us can imagine life without it.
A crucial part of the ongoing health of the NHS is having a social care system that ensures people get the care they need to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.
The best 75th birthday present that the NHS could receive is a commitment from all political parties to reform and properly fund social care.
As our population ages, with more people living longer with multiple, complex conditions, the neglect of social care is becoming increasingly unsustainable and exacerbating the challenges faced by the NHS.
A&E departments are seeing increasing numbers of people admitted because they aren’t receiving the care and support they need to remain independent at home. Once they are in hospital, it becomes increasingly difficult to discharge them because the right care packages aren’t in place. It’s a vicious circle that’s causing significant heartache and distress to service users – and huge difficulties for the NHS too.
A reformed and properly funded social care system would not only be hugely helpful to millions of older and disabled people and their carers who deserve decent care, but would also reduce the pressure on the NHS, so that it can concentrate on tackling record high waiting lists for the benefit of all.
The Care and Support Alliance
CSA’s open letter to the Chancellor: Prioritise social care in your Spring Budget
March 6, 2023
Please use your Budget to help those who give and receive social care
We believe you have the most developed understanding of social care, the benefits good care brings and the huge problems for individuals and their families and carers when it is not available, of anyone who has ever occupied your role as Chancellor of the Exchequer. We sincerely hope you will draw on all that experience and insight and will take decisive action to support social care in your Budget on March 15th. As the co-chairs of an alliance of more than sixty charities that work with older and disabled people, and their unpaid carers, our honest belief is that this extra support is needed from you now more than ever.
We know you recognise that social care is a long way from being fixed and that a lot has to change to ensure everyone receives decent care, enabling them to live will, now and into the future. The need for a long term plan to transform social care is unarguable, but given what we are seeing this winter we believe there are three more urgent social care priorities you should focus on in your forthcoming Budget. They are firstly to halt the alarming rate of attrition within the workforce; secondly, to do more to support the unpaid carers on whom the entire social care system depends; and thirdly, to help people on low incomes and with modest assets to manage the rising cost of care, so they keep having it.
We therefore urge you to give consideration to the following measures:
- A richly deserved pay rise for all care workers, not only those working around hospital discharge, to support recruitment and retention. Social care needs to be able to compete with retail and hospitality for staff, and salaries need to be closer to those in the NHS for equivalent jobs. Unless and until action like this is taken we can only see the care workforce continuing to haemorrhage staff, with disastrous consequences for all who need their support.
- A doubling of the funding available for short breaks for carers, so those who are exhausted and at risk of burning out can have a rest, helping them to maintain their health and morale, and sustain their caring arrangements.
- Increase the lower capital limit to £20,000 and the upper capital limit to £100,000 within the social care means test, as proposed in the Government’s 2021 Social Care White Paper. In our view this would allow some disabled and older people to keep receiving the care they need and have to pay for, rather than feeling they have no choice but to give it up or cut it back, because they simply cannot afford it.
We know you fully appreciate the interdependencies between Health and social care, and the fact that measures like the three we propose would not only be hugely helpful to millions of older and disabled people and unpaid carers, they would also reduce demands on the NHS at a time when it needs to be freed up to concentrate on reducing waiting lists – one of five current Government objectives. It is clear that the NHS cannot succeed for as long as social care is failing. Please use your position to help social care by bringing in the measures we propose, in the best interests of us all.
Caroline Abrahams CBE, Charity Director, Age UK
Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK
Jackie O’Sullivan, Director of Communication, Advocacy and Activism, Mencap
Care & Support Alliance Co-Chairs
Incoming PM needs to act fast, says Care and Support Alliance, as new analysis finds 2.6m aged 50+ now have some unmet need for social care
September 2, 2022
The reforms Boris Johnson announced will not and cannot ‘fix social care’ because they don’t improve the quality and availability of care – the new Prime Minister must go further
New analysis by Age UK for the Care and Support Alliance (CSA) * has found that a massive 2.6 million people aged fifty and above are living with some form of unmet need for care in England. This is the best estimate so far produced for the numbers of people in mid-life, as well as of above State Pension Age, who require assistance with one or more activities of daily living, like washing and eating.
The 2.5 million over-50s in this position are equivalent to 12%, or one in eight of the entire same age population in this country.
In response to this shocking statistic the Care and Support Alliance (CSA)*, is calling for an urgent cash injection to address the increasing pressures on the care system caused by a shortage of money and staff. Social care is chronically underfunded and many local councils struggle to meet the care needs of their communities. An ageing population as well as a growing number of disabled people of working age, means problems are escalating with central Government funding not keeping pace with the consequent growing demand for care. Unfortunately, the pandemic made an already bad situation even worse.
Latest data by Age UK and the Care and Support Alliance show that:
- 70% (1.8 million) of those with an unmet need for care have difficulty dressing
- 18% (450,000) of those with an unmet need for care have difficulty walking across a room
- 47% (1.2 million) of those with an unmet need for care have difficulty bathing or showering
- 12% (320,000) of those with an unmet need for care have difficulty eating
- 36% (930,000) of those with an unmet need for care have difficulty getting in and out of bed
- 23% (600,000) of those with an unmet need for care have difficulty using the toilet
- 7% of people in their 50s have an unmet need for care, 12% in their 60s, 15% in their 70s, 21% in their 80s and older
- 21% (540,000) of people with an unmet need for care are often lonely, compared to 6% of people who have no need for care and 12% of people who have a need for care which is met
(All these statistics refer to the age 50+ population of England, and can be referenced as Age UK analysis of data from wave 9 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, scaled up to the population of England using data from the 2021 Census.)
The local authorities that are responsible for funding social care are facing severe financial pressures due to a long term lack of funding from central government. Social care providers are facing increased costs, and skilled, low-paid carers are leaving the profession in droves, often to work in retail or the NHS, where terms and conditions are more favourable. Unfortunately, at the same time people who need care are paying more but often receiving less – some have had their care packages reduced or cut altogether, and thousands of others are still waiting to be assessed by their local council.
Furthermore, recent evidence suggests almost three quarters (73%) of Social Services Directors are reporting more breakdowns of unpaid carer arrangements (ADASS Spring Survey 2022) – with family members struggling to continue providing high levels of care without sufficient outside support. There has also been a sharp drop in the number of unpaid carers in England reporting that the person they care for has used services, allowing them to take a break from caring for more than 24 hours – 19.6 per cent (57,280 people) in 2018-19 compared to 13.3 per cent (42,800 carers) in 2021-22 (Personal Social Services Survey of adult carers in England report, 2022). The number of carers who said there had been no discussions about the support or services provided to the person they care for in the last year grew from 31.2 per cent (91,250) in 2018-19 to 36.1 per cent (116,360) in 2021 (Personal Social Services Survey of adult carers in England report, 2022).
The Care and Support Alliance believes that the reforms that Boris Johnson announced as Prime Minister in September 2020 will not and cannot fulfil the promise he made to ‘fix social care’ because they do not improve the quality and availability of care – the things that really matter if you or a loved one needs this support, which is never a ‘nice to have’ and always a necessity. Instead, his reforms focus on subsidising the cost of care for some people who pay for their own services, especially if they need them for a long time – a good thing to do but not nearly enough on its own. The 2019 Conservative Manifesto said that older and disabled people, and their unpaid carers, deserve the support they require to live decently. At the moment we seem further away than ever from that aspiration being met.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:
“To have as many as two and half million over-50s now living with some unmet need for care is truly astonishing, and it shows how far below an acceptable level of operation our social care services have been allowed to fall. This number is equivalent to one in eight of the entire same age population, and the lack of support must be having a huge impact on all these people’s ability to live a normal life and participate in and contribute to our society. There’s no doubt that the long term neglect of social care services by central Government is having very real consequences, not only for the individuals whose lives are at best diminished, and their families who often have to pick up the pieces, but for other public services too, especially the NHS. What folly it has been for our politicians to be so careless about such a crucial public service – it’s high time that changed and I hope our new Prime Minister will turn the page and take a more intelligent approach to social care.”
“At the moment all the data point to social care becoming weaker as time goes on, not stronger, particularly when you look at the state of the workforce, where vacancies are increasing month by month. This is scarcely surprising when you consider how uncompetitive the terms and conditions in social care now are: the incoming administration must understand that they will not begin to turn the curve on quality and access in social care until they ensure care staff are properly recompensed for the incredible work they do.”
Jackie O’Sullivan, Communication Director of Mencap and Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance said:
“These figures are shocking enough, but with the increasing staff shortages these numbers are only going to increase unless the Government takes bold and urgent action to getting social care the funding it needs.
“Many younger disabled adults are being condemned to living lives where just getting out of the house is a constant struggle, they then can’t work, volunteer or meet people. They just stay stuck inside.
“We need an urgent cash injection from the Government to address all these ongoing pressures on the system caused by the pandemic and in the longer-term need funding targeted at supporting decent pay rises for our hard-working care workforce. This is the only way the sector can get back on an even keel.”
“The years of lack of investment means the scale of the challenge is huge and demands urgent action now. The millions of older and disabled people putting up with inadequate services, if they get any service at all, need the incoming PM to get a grip of the problem and aim for transformation through proper reform, but as it stands it is never going to be possible with the meagre funding allocated by the government up to now.”
Notes to Editors.
Steven’s story (Age UK)
Steven is 66, and has complex health needs. He is bedbound and has been for the past 10 months. He had a fully funded care package with included meals and giving him his medication. In September he was informed by his care agency that due to staffing problems they were withdrawing his care from immediate effect and had informed the council. No replacement care was provided. He contacted the council to ask for this to be arranged urgently but this did not happen. He contacted his GP who was unable to offer any assistance. Steven was left without access to food or water for 60 hours, which resulted in him becoming very distressed and unwell.
* The Care and Support Alliance represents over 60 leading charities campaigning for a properly funded social care system in England alongside the millions of older people, disabled people and their unpaid carers who need decent care.
ADASS / CSA Joint Statement on Fuel Price Rises
February 2, 2022
Responding to growing concerns about the impact of fuel price rises for older people, disabled people and carers, Cathie Williams, ADASS chief executive, and the co-chairs of the Care and Support Alliance have issued the following joint statement:
Despite recent announcements about the ending of most Covid restrictions, for many older people, disabled people and their family carers the fear of Covid remains and people will continue to isolate at home, especially amongst those who are clinically vulnerable. The impact upon people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing of spending excessively long periods in isolation has been well documented, but the financial impact has been less well understood.
Many people with care and support needs have already experienced an increase in household energy costs as a result of extended periods of time spent at home. For some, price increases will have been significantly higher as a result of their energy supplier going bust and being moved to a provider of last resort on higher tariffs. We also know that it is harder for some people to navigate the complicated energy market and to shop around for cheaper deals. Yet the price increases experienced so far are relatively low compared to the price hikes everyone will face from April 1st.
We know that a lot of older and disabled people and their family carers are amongst those in society with the lowest household income and as a result, their energy costs are a significantly higher proportion of the income. These huge prices rises will leave many people, potentially already in poorer health, with the terrible decision of choosing between heating and eating. We are therefore calling for the Government to provide additional financial support to people who need care and support, and their family carers to enable them to heat their homes without having to worry about further reductions to their quality of life.