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Sunday, 23 June 2024

Adult social care funding and workforce challenges discussed at parliamentary roundtable

NATIONAL learning disability charity Hft and Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, hosted a roundtable at the end of March in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Adult Social Care to discuss the emerging themes from their new Sector Pulse Check report.

The report, which was commissioned and launched earlier this month by Hft and Care England, illustrates the unique challenges facing the sector following the pandemic, the cost of living crisis and decades of under-investment by the central Government.

Following a survey of care providers in England, the report’s findings included that one-third of adult social care providers, including half of smaller organisations, have considered exiting the market in the past 12 months.

The roundtable was chaired by the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Adult Social Care.

Speaking after the roundtable, Mr Green said:

“This is an incredibly useful report that deserves serious attention from Government. The care system is full of people doing their best but there are obstacles to delivering the care that people need and deserve – those obstacles need to be addressed.”

Devia Gurjar, Chief Charity and External Affairs Officer at Hft, and Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, were also in attendance. The pair shared key findings from the report and described how cost pressures, including sky-high utility bills and increasing, unfunded workforce pay resulted in 82% of providers being in deficit or facing a decrease in their surplus in 2022.

Adult social care funding and workforce challenges discussed at parliamentary roundtable

Devia said:

“Monday’s roundtable was a fantastic opportunity to discuss and address the stark findings of our Sector Pulse Check report. We know that appreciation of our sector’s frontline care teams is overwhelming. Coming together with other providers and MPs for opportunities such as this roundtable discussion gives us a unique opportunity to work together to find solutions for a sustainable future for the sector; a future in which the people we support can live their best lives possible.”

The roundtable was attended by Parliamentarians from across the House and key representatives from the adult social care sector, who discussed the report’s findings, its implications and how they would address the challenges going forward.

Among the topics discussed were solutions to ongoing workforce issues, a central aspect of this year’s report, and how existing stigma towards careers in social care needs to be tackled to help mitigate these issues.

Another key point of discussion was the integration of social care with the NHS, given how the systems differ in their overarching structure and funding model. A number of relevant points were raised around the complexity of social care provision and the unique challenges that are facing the sector.

Martin Green said:

“Monday’s roundtable was a timely opportunity to discuss the Sector Pulse Check report and its findings, with an extremely constructive conversation featuring a diverse set of key stakeholders sharing their approaches to navigating the challenges identified.

“Despite the diversity of involvement, there was a clear consensus that a long-term approach is desperately needed and long overdue. This approach must be one that transcends political boundaries and serves to deliver a sustainable adult social care sector centred around staff and the people we support.

“We look forward to taking key points from Monday’s roundtable forward in our work and ensuring that the Sector Pulse Check report is afforded the consideration it duly deserves.”

The Sector Pulse Check report includes a number of recommendations including calls for the Government to develop a pay framework to establish a minimum care wage and a continuation of enhanced support for energy costs equivalent to that offered through the initial Energy Bill Relief Scheme which expired on 31 March 2023.

The full report can be found here.

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