Hundreds of social care workers, providers and those who draw on social care lobbied Parliament on 19th July and told MPs about the crisis in social care and giving their personal stories about what it’s like on the forgotten frontline.
The cross-party, cross-sector Future Social Care Coalition (FSCC) is calling on the Government to #GetSocialCareDone and fix the recruitment and retention emergency. The economic and moral case for social care workers to be recognised and properly rewarded is undeniable but the Government aren’t acting.
The first FSCC Social Care Lobby Day gives a massive ‘shout out’ for those who care and ‘call out’ the lack of capacity in the UK’s social care system. Even before the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, Britain’s social care services were not fit for purpose with circa 110,000 vacancies. Current estimates indicate that there are now upwards of 150,000 vacancies in social care.
Dimensions, one of the UK’s largest not-for-profit providers for support for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism, recently released a five-point plan for the Government to tackle the staffing shortfall in social care. Measures include benchmarking minimum support worker pay at NHS Band 3, establishing a Skills Framework, and targeting integrated health and care.
Rachael Dodgson, Chief Executive of Dimensions, said: “It’s vital that the professional and important job that social care workers do is reflected in their pay; unless this is addressed it will continue to be difficult to recruit and retain staff.
“Our manifesto also calls for a national skills framework so that skills can recognised by all 23,000 social care providers in the UK. This would provide a framework for professional recognition and progression within the sector, which would also help with retention.”
Boris Johnson promised to get social care ‘DONE’. But it is clear that, despite the adult social care reform white paper and reforms in the Build Back Better plan, social care is neither ‘FIXED’ or ‘DONE’. The FSCC will be calling on the Government, and new Health and Social Care Secretary, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, to take urgent action and commit to the key asks set out on the FSCC pledge card.
The FSCC’s Co Chairs commented on why the FSCC Social Care Lobby Day is important and why it is time for Government action to #GetSocialCareDone:
Rt Hon Alistair Burt, Co-Chair and former social care minister, said:
“The Social Care Lobby Day is our opportunity to shout out for social care reform. This is needed more than ever before.”
“There were extensive staff shortages across the social care workforce before the pandemic and now we are seeing more people leaving the profession due to post-pandemic pressures and the cost-of-living crisis, this can’t continue.”
Phil Hope, Co-Chair and former care minister, said:
“Social care workers – the forgotten frontline – worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic with little recognition.
“It is simply not good enough that those who care for those who need care are not properly recognised and rewarded. The Government urgently needs to act. Too many are leaving the care system because they simply cannot afford to live.”
“The FSCC is calling for a Social Care People’s Plan and making the moral and economic case for parity and fairness for social care workers. Now is the time to act and for the Government to implement overdue change across the sector.”
Christine McAnea, Co-Chair and UNISON general secretary, said:
“Social care workers pay must reflect their enormous value in society. At the moment it does not.”
“The harrowing stories we have gathered for our Social Care Lobby Day highlight how care workers across the country are struggling to live. They also show how the cost-of-living crisis is making it even tougher to retain staff.”
“Those who work in social care need to be rewarded properly and recognised for what they do so brilliantly. It is time for fair pay and for action – doing nothing is simply not an option. It’s also time for Government to get social care done and show they genuinely care for those who care.”
Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Co-Chair and former Secretary of State, said: “Social Care is in crisis. It makes no economic sense for the Government not to address the recruitment and retention emergency and pay fair for care. Ministers need to act now before it’s too late.”
Image depicts Rachael Dodgson, Dimensions Chief Executive