APPG calls for social care body to fix ‘workforce crisis’

5 Sep 19

Social care needs a government-sponsored ‘national care service’ to tackle the issue of underinvestment in employees in the sector, MPs have said.

Workforce reform in social care must be carried out “as a matter of national priority” to “avoid financial wastage on a broken and incoherent system”, an all-party parliamentary group has said.

Social care employees were “too often overlooked in terms of investment, training, remuneration and value”, argued the APPG on social care in a report released yesterday.

A national care body would give the sector a “bespoke identity” and equal status with the NHS, the group said. 

It would also be able to design a new standardised training and career development framework and would promote greater integration with NHS services, it added. 

Co-chairs of the APPG Louise Haigh and Gillian Keegan said: “Care workers – the vital frontline foundation of the social care system – are too often overlooked in terms of investment, training, remuneration and value.

“This oversight is clearly impacting workers themselves and the vulnerable people who rely on their work.”

The report also recommended the creation of a national care body council, which could “consolidate regional work-forces, allow for devolved and regionalised reflections of demographic need and operate regional skill shortage registers”.

MPs noted that alongside a focus on workforce there must be a “substantial funding settlement in social care as a matter of national priority”.

“This inquiry has concluded that workforce reform must be carried out simultaneously if we are to avoid financial wastage on a broken and incoherent system,” it added.

Ian Hudspeth, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “Developing a full-fledged professional social care workforce is something which councils encourage and this must be recognised as major long-term project.

“Social care work should be seen as valuable and rewarding in its own right and achieving parity of esteem between the NHS and social care workforces is important.”

In the Spending Round on Wednesday, the chancellor announced an extra £1.5bn for social care for the next year. Although, £0.5bn will be available for councils through increased social care precepts on council tax bills.

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