No-deal Brexit Yellowhammer document sparks social care fears 

22 Aug 19

A leaked government document has raised fears that a no-deal Brexit could worsen the already “perilous” state of the social care sector. 

The confidential document, part of the Cabinet Offices’s no deal preparations Operation Yellowhammer, published by the Sunday Times over the weekend, acknowledged that the social care market is “already fragile”. 

It said that a no-deal scenario would likely drive up inflation resulting in increased staff and supply costs, which would in turn put social care providers out of business.

“An increase in inflation following EU exit would significantly impact adult social care providers due to increasing staff and supply costs, and may lead to provider failure, with smaller providers impacted within two-three months and large providers four-six months after exit,” it said.  

Social care leaders, still waiting for the five-times delayed social care green paper, told PF of their fears for an already stretched system working with less staff. 

Sue Bott, director of policy and development at Disability Rights UK, told PF: “Social care is in a perilous state as it is and can ill afford one more blow because there isn’t capacity to deal with it. 

“What the government don’t seem to realise is the consequences that a weakened social care system has on the lives of disabled people – they rely on it just to get out of their home.” 

She added: “We are really concerned about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and what might happen to EU citizens, who make up a significant portion of the workforce.” 

The charity Skills For Care, which analyses social care workforce data, estimated that of the 1.34m adults social care workers in Britian 104,000 have EU nationality.

Julie Ogley, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, told PF: “We have been very clear that the issues with the social care workforce are very pressing and we can see that a no deal Brexit will potentially make the situation worse.” 

Ogley, noted that local authorities must be in “constant dialogue” with local care markets to mitigate the impacts of no-deal Brexit. 

“When allied healthcare failed people were forecasting all sorts of disruption but in fact councils managed that very well.” 

Ogley also expressed her concerns at the instability of the current workforce would worsen after Brexit. She noted that while the vacancy rate was at 8%, the turnover rate stands at 30%. 

Simon Bottery, senior fellow at The King’s Fund charity, warned that this vacancy rate is likely to increase with a no deal Brexit. 

He said: “Years of underfunding have left adult social care services in England at crisis point. Any reduction in EU social care workers will make this even worse.”

Boris Johnson promised to “fix the social care crisis” on his first day in the job as prime minister

The leaked docment was a study done as part of the government’s Yellowhammer Operation preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

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