Labour has set out an ambition for a needs-based, nationally funded, locally delivered care system, with a guiding principle of “home first”.
Writing in the LabourList, Liz Kendall, Shadow Minister for Social Care, said Labour would “radically shift” the focus of social care support towards prevention and early intervention, and champion independence, choice and control for older and disabled people.
“We will bring together care workers, district nurses, physiotherapists and other staff into one team so people don’t have to battle their way around the system,” she said.
“We will also expand the use of housing options, home adaptations and technology, and work with local community groups to offer early help with things like shopping, cleaning and tackling loneliness and isolation.”
Kendall’s column in the LabourList comes five months after she told an ADASS conference that Britain should make home care a “central plank” in its post-pandemic infrastructure plan.
She said at the time: “We are always going to need residential and nursing homes, but the vast majority of people want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, but too many people struggle to get even the basic support or home adaptations that make this possible.”
Labour’s plans for social care would also involve a ten-year plan of investment and reform, co-produced with those who use and deliver services; increased access to care as a priority, so all older and disabled people get the right support; and a new deal for care workers’ pay, training, terms and conditions so there is proper career progression and their role is equally valued with those in the NHS.
“This is essential to tackling the 110,000 vacancies in social care and delivering the half a million extra care workers we need by 2030 just to meet growing demand,” said Kendall.
Finally, Labour has pledged to transform support for unpaid family carers by upholding carers rights in the Care Act; providing proper information, advice and breaks; and ensuring more flexibility at work so unpaid carers can better balance work and family life.