Responding to the publication today (Thursday) of the Health and Social Care Committee’s report Social care: funding and workforce, Anita Charlesworth, the Health Foundation’s Director of Research and REAL Centre, said:

 ‘This is another stark warning that the government must urgently reform social care if we are to 'build back better' in the wake of the pandemic. 

‘COVID-19 has exposed the fault lines in the social care system and laid bare years of chronic underfunding. Sadly, care home residents and those receiving care in their own homes have paid a huge price for years of failure in political leadership.  

‘In order to fix social care, three issues need to be addressed. Overall funding levels need to increase to stabilise the current system and ensure people who need care can access it. We need reform to provide certainty for how much individuals and families need to contribute to care costs. And the way the social care system is run needs to be transformed, putting people at the heart of care planning, so that there is more accountability for improvements in care and better pay and working conditions for staff.  Social care has limped on for years with drip fed injections of funding to stave off crisis. Another one-year funding settlement will not provide the stability and fundamental reform the sector needs. 

‘As the Committee report states, the Health Foundation estimates it would cost £7.7bn a year for the minimum improvements needed to support social care, including better pay for care workers and keeping up with current levels of demand for services. An ambitious government would go further – such as improving access to care and ensuring that no one has to sell their home to pay for care. To put a £46k cap on lifetime care costs for individuals, would cost an additional £3.1bn a year.

‘Political will has coalesced around the need for change and there is no reason not to act. The cost of not getting this right is high – greater hardship for those in society least able to care for themselves.’

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Social care funding gap

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Our estimates of what it would cost to stabilise and improve adult social care in England.

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