Commenting on the Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities Committee report into adult social care, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and the REAL Centre at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Boris Johnson's stated ambition to fix adult social care simply hasn't been met. Introducing the health and care levy to fund some important reforms for social care was a step in the right direction – but proposals from Conservative leadership candidates to drop this could amount to two steps back.
Through years of political neglect, our adult social care system has become a threadbare safety net. Too many people go without the care they desperately need, the workforce is underpaid and undervalued, and there is a huge burden on unpaid carers.
‘Funding currently promised for social care will barely keep pace with demand in the coming years, let alone fund vital care for more people who need it, improvements to the quality of care and wage increases for staff.
‘Government needs to address chronic staffing problems in both social care and the NHS. Almost one in ten posts are now vacant in social care – 165,000 vacancies in total. Recruiting and retaining enough staff to provide care is an urgent challenge. Improving and expanding the social care safety net will also help the NHS in tackling a growing waiting list.
‘The impact of inflation adds even greater pressure on an already frayed social care sector. A long-term funding plan for social care and a fully-funded plan to grow and support the health and care workforce should be a top priority for the next PM.’