Commissioners and care providers must come together as allies to tackle the social care crisis and not wait for answers from a delayed Green Paper that is likely to come “too late”, the National Care Forum (NCF) executive director Vic Rayner has urged.
Writing in a blog for the NCF, she warned that ongoing delays to the Green Paper mean it will not be possible to deliver a meaningful response to the document that influences the Spending Review.
“Therefore we need to find ways to work together outside of that structure to coordinate a response,” she stressed.
Rayner added delays to the Green Paper mean that the social care sector will be left in “perpetual catch up” without a single workforce strategy.
“Ambitions to incorporate this in the green paper are likely to come too late. We need to act now,” she warned.
The recent ADASS Spring Seminar heard a message from the Minister of Care that the Green Paper remained delayed. On the same day, the Secretary of State for Health and Care stated in his evidence to the select committee that whilst it remained a source of great frustration to all that the Green Paper was not published, he could not provide any greater clarity to the committee that it would be delivered any time sooner than ‘in due course’.
Rayner said that the government’s decision to suspend a “desperately needed” debate on the future of social care for over two years has led to “several battles” being drawn between various bodies.
“Providers have railed at the action of commissioners, commissioners have criticised providers, workers have shown anger at their employers and people using services have rightly challenged the efficacy, navigation, flexibility and responsiveness of a [social care] system,” she said.
“With the integration agenda firmly gripping the political spotlight, we have at times, appeared to create a new front for our battles. We have been decrying the lack of parity between health and care, calling foul on yet another announcement that seems to pour resources into the NHS whilst ignoring the needs of the social care sector.”
Social care bodies have also begun to significantly segment their concerns, Rayner said.
“Some say funding is the critical factor, others the workforce and retention, others that we do not have the right models for now and the future, and of course that a good grasp of technology is what is needed. We have even taken to blaming the public for its lack of understanding of a complex system that we are all part of creating, and for not caring enough about the work we do,” she explained.
Rayner stressed that if the social care sector must go without central guidance, it must look to its constituent parts to come together.
“We need to build up a clear picture of just what resources we have available between us and work as allies and partners, not enemies and competitors,” she stressed.