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.”