Delays to social care paper frustrating

Responding to the news that the government’s Social Care Green Paper has been postponed, social care leaders have expressed frustration and concern over further neglect to an already ‘fragile’ sector.

The National Care Forum (NCF) has warned that the delay until the Autumn would cause further disruption to an already fragile sector, and stressed that action is needed immediately to help the sector tackle the multitude of challenges it is currently facing.

Vic Rayner, executive director of the NCF said: “We were promised a Green Paper on social care this Summer, way before the current announcements on funding and a ten-year settlement for the NHS. The continual pushing back of this key policy agenda is a disservice to people who need and use services, and the wider community.

“The Green Paper needs to focus on a funding solution for social care, alongside important messages around the transformation of service models and delivery. The Green Paper needs to explore these in detail and therefore the purported logic of tying together the consultative paper on social care with the action based funded plan for the NHS does not hold true. Our concern is that the real innovation and exploration promised in the social care green paper will disappear as social care and its future funding is shaped and moulded to meet NHS priorities, rather than giving it time over the summer to develop a fully formed future focussed agenda to work in equal partnership with health.”

Agreeing with the NCF, Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the VODG, added: “We welcome the new funding for the NHS and the efforts to join up services. But social care exists in its own right and the current focus on NHS reform must not be at the expense of overlooking community care. It is wholly unacceptable that once again government has decided to delay the green paper process.

“The government is failing to heed warnings from the Care Quality Commission regulator about the sustainability of provision. Action is vital. Millions of disabled and older people, and their carers, rely on essential social care services each day – we all deserve better.”

VODG’s True Costs report provided a stark warning to government that the chronic under-funding of social care must be reversed. The report demonstrates the consequences of failing to fund social care: rising levels of unmet need, workforce shortages and concerns about the sustainability, quality and quantity of services.

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