The Health and Social Care Committee has called for a £7bn annual increase in social care funding in the government’s spending review to avoid the risk of market collapse.
In a major report, the Committee backs the introduction of a lifetime cap to protect against “catastrophic care costs” as proposed by the Dilnot Commission and endorses further consideration of free personal care.
Health and Social Care Committee Chair Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP also called for a 10-year plan for the sector along with a people plan as seen in the NHS.
Hunt (pictured) said: “Without such a plan, words about parity of esteem will be hollow. We owe it to both the staff and families devastated by loss to make this a moment of real change.”
The report urges action to improve the pay and recognition of social care workers, establishing a clear career path aligned with the NHS and transitional arrangements for the recruitment of overseas social care workers as long as is necessary.
Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth said: “We welcome this report that uses data from the Skills for Care Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set and the evidence we gave as part of our submission to the committee. The report highlights the central role of our growing workforce.
“We look forward to working with partners across the sector to support more people to take up rewarding roles in our sector and look at how we can improve career progression for social care workers.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, added: “We concur with the Health and Social Care Committee’s assertion that action needs to be taken now, we simply cannot afford to wait. The sector needs support and one tangible way to provide this is via a ten-year plan for adult social care.
“This plan must be carefully aligned with the NHS and I hope that the Committee will monitor progress as it must not sit on a shelf and gather dust or we will be faced with a vastly depleted social care sector with huge repercussions for the nation.
“The report addresses the short, medium and long term requirements. It is heartening that after so long in the wilderness the sector is being listened to and we hope that this report will be the turning point that we so desperately need.”