The Spending Review will be more important that the Social Care Green Paper in deciding how social care should be funded going forward, the UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) has said.
“While we hear the views of stakeholders about how social care should go forward, it is the Spending Review which will make the important decisions about how public services will be funded,” said Bridget Warr, outgoing chief executive of UKHCA (pictured).
Past spending review periods have covered a three or five year period and the next one will take us to 2025. However, Brexit might mean the Spending Review will be for one year only, the UKHCA suggested in its latest publication, Homecarer, which was distributed at the Dementia Care & Nursing Home Expo today.
In its letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, UKHCA urged the Government to ensure local authorities can pay fees which will allow attractive rates of pay to help recruitment and retention, and also allow providers to meet their legal and social responsibilities.
“Equally important is the investment needed for a vibrant and diverse homecare market; we called for independent oversight of commissioning of adult social care by local authorities in England to ensure councils are fulfilling their duties under the Care Act 2014,” said policy officer, Veronica Monks.
The Local Government Association said that between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p out of every £1 and are facing an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The funding gap for social care is estimated at £1bn, despite council taxes rising to 2.99%.
UKHCA said that demand management must start with preventing or delaying the need for services.
It explained that while a focus on prevention is featured in the NHS Long Term Plan, it seems Government has “still not understood” the message that when councils cut spending on prevention services, which many homecare companies provide, they are creating even more problems in the long-run.
“The NHS is going to carry on picking up the pieces cut from council budgets unless there is a substantial change to haw social care is funded,” said Monks.
“How work on the Green Paper will be managed alongside the work on the Spending Review will reveal whether it is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, or Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Care who have the final say. Whoever has the last word, Government must give priority to closing the funding cap and growing the care gap.”