Social care crisis needs a National Care Service
A new report out today has exposed the scale of staff shortages in adult care, leaving the sector in crisis and compounding the case for a transformative new National Care Service.
shortages have risen during the pandemic - with now 105,000 vacancies - nearly 7% of jobs unfilled - and with an annual staff turnover rate of 29% in 2020-21 demonstrating the instability of the sector.
Care sector staff do a heroic job and are not sufficiently supported or properly rewarded by a sector that the government has left operating in crisis for far too long. Up to three-quarters of care staff don’t receive a real living wage and a third of direct care workers are employed on zero-hours contracts.
Due to the care sector staff shortages, care homes are increasingly unable to handle discharges from the NHShospital waiting lists are continuing to grow. The Guardian reported yesterday that MHA, Britain’s largest not-for-profit care home provider has had to close one in 10 care homes to admissions from hospitals.
I have long been concerned that the existing model of care provision through private providers, with 84% of social care beds in the private sector, exacerbates the funding crisis.
And unfortunately the government's proposal to inject additional funding into health and care through a new jobs tax, via National Insurance increase, will not deliver the settlement the care sector needs.
That’s why it is vital the government gets it right when it launches a new white paper on the future of social care later in the year.
The Labour Party Conference in September set out a clear vision in September – one of establishing a National Care Service which would remove profit from our social care system.
This care service would implement national standards on terms and conditions and ensure care workers are paid at least in line with average wages - now at £15 an hour.
I have also tabled Early Day Motion 427 in support of a National Care Service which I encourage other MPs to sign - do write to your MP to ask them, if they haven't done so.