Social care crisis: Sheffield carers say Government plans 'not enough'

Care workers and politicians in Sheffield have criticised the Government’s social care plans as not doing enough to address the crisis the sector faces.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 11:42 am

The Government unveiled its social care white paper on yesterday (December 1), which gives further details on how some of the previously announced £5.4 billion – to be raised for social care by the £36bn health and social care levy – will be spent over the next three years.

In it they highlighted £300m to integrate housing into local health and care strategies, and a further £500m for training and qualification.

However, those involved in the sector have said the funding is not enough.

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File photo dated 29/10/21 of a care home resident holding hands with her daughter. The Government has announced a new repairs service to help older and disabled people live independently for longer in their own homes as part of key social care reforms. Issue date: Wednesday December 1, 2021.

Nicola Richards, chair of Sheffield Care Association and founder of Support Social Care Heroes, said: "Staffing is the real issue in the social care sector with more than 42,000 people leaving their jobs since April.

"These are care heroes who have been working at full speed for more than 20 months and are burning out.

"The proof of the success of the social care white paper will be if the sector can pay staff much more and recognise they are a skilled workforce. But we also need to recognise their dedication and do much more to help their wellbeing.

"We've had enough of waiting for politicians to decide our future, so we recently launched a new organisation, Support Social Care Heroes, to step in to fill the gap."

Sheffield MP Clive Betts asked why there were no solutions to the ongoing funding crises affecting care staff and local authorities who provide the majority of the funding for social care recipients.

He said “There’s no money to deal or improve the pay or conditions of the work force without which we will continue getting this churn. There’s no money to help those companies who are exiting the sector, and no money to deal with the crisis in funding that local authorities are facing.”

He added that despite the announcements made there was no news on how a pay and conditions for care staff would be reformed to deal with the ongoing staffing crisis, or that local authorities would be provided with the funds they need to administer the current care system.

Announcing the plans, health minister Gillian Keegan told the House of Commons the Government ‘is determined to get it right’.

She said the white paper is ‘underpinned by three core principles’, adding: “First, that everybody has choice, control and support to live independent lives. Second, that everyone can access outstanding personalised care and support. And third, that adult social care is fair and accessible for everyone who needs it.”

Part of the £1.7bn allocated to improve social care will fund a repairs and adaptations service to help older and disabled people live for longer with their families or independently in their own homes.

At least £300m will be invested to increase the range of supported housing and at least £150m to drive greater adoption of technology, which can support independent living and improve care.

Up to £25m will be invested to change the services provided to support unpaid carers and increase their access to respite services.

A previously announced £500m will go towards training the workforce and helping them feel valued.

Responding to the Government’s claim that support for local authorities would be made in due course Clive Betts was not optimistic.

He said: “We’ve heard it before with this Government, promising further updates in a future announcement, only to then spectacularly under-deliver, or renege on commitments completely.

"Just look at Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2, which were deferred again and again until eventually the Government came clean about their betrayal. I fear that support for local authorities to deal with our care crisis will end a similar way.”