A social care provider is calling on the Government to provide much-needed funding and relief to the sector in the upcoming Autumn Budget.
The appeal comes from health & social care charity Vibrance, which says that services are struggling under the pressure of increased demand and financial strain, making it more difficult for organisations to provide quality care.
The difficulties firms are facing was highlighted in a recent Voluntary Organisations Disability (VODG) report, which warned that chronic under-funding of social care needed to be reversed, with the current system meaning providers are unable to meet increasing service demands.
Paul Allen, CEO of Vibrance, says the Government must do more to ensure the sector receives the funding it needs, or risk causing a crisis if it is ignored:
“The current funding of the social care sector and services is simply not enough to meet demand and ensure users receive the best support possible. Whilst the Government committed an extra £2billion to social care in the Spring Budget, this extra funding is spread over a three-year period and actually fails to even keep pace with the increasing costs providers face such as inflation, the Apprenticeship Levy, increasing Auto-Enrolment contributions and the rise to the Minimum Wage.
“These extra requirements the industry faces, as well as increased demand and lack of staff availability, means that providers are struggling to stay afloat, directly impacting service users. We have experienced this at Vibrance with our specialist autism services. We are now unable to take on more people, even though people are desperate to join us, because it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit staff with the required level of experience and expertise,” he said.
Paul believes that challenges are only going to become harder for social care organisations and says that the Government needs to act now to prevent further impact on the sector:
“The road ahead for the industry looks bumpy as we continue to tackle an increasing skills gap and await the outcome of Brexit negotiations, which could have a negative impact on recruitment as the employment of EU staff on which many providers rely could be hampered. This, combined with increasing demand from in service users and the growing need for quality support for people with more complex needs, means that the Chancellor has to take the appropriate steps now to guarantee that a plan and funding is in place to help us provide the quality care service users need.”
He concluded: “We understand that there are many issues the Autumn Budget needs to address, but it’s vital that the requirements of care providers and those who need help are not swept under the carpet. Care isn’t something that can be addressed with a short-term approach, and a forward-looking strategy with appropriate funding is needed to ensure that we as a sector can safeguard and support those in need. We hope the Government will realise this and provide social care organisations with the resources they need.”