Talk Health and Care

Funding our workforce

We need proper funding to give people who work in care more control over their career.

Age UK has warned that an underpaid, overstretched workforce would inevitably result in vulnerable elderly people receiving poor care. The lack of funding, which has led to some social care workers being paid just £5 an hour, is estimated to result in an expected deficit of 600,000 care workers by 2025, which is a recipe for disaster.

I believe that through the introduction of adult social care vouchers, much like with the introduction of childcare vouchers in 1998 which helped over 600,000 families pay for care, we can reform the system and allow our care workers to achieve their maximum potential. The outcome is workers provide outstanding care while feeling valued by the public and our NHS.

Currently, the system doesn’t work for some of the most vulnerable in our society. Councils are providing 50% fewer care packages to older people than in 2015, while the number of older people has increased by 400,000 in the same period. It’s inevitable that this had led to a decrease in quality of provision. With an increasingly ageing population, we need to act now to change the fate of our adult social care system.

The money saved through giving people control over their care cuts government spending, allowing this to be invested elsewhere. This can then be used on resources to further improve our standard of care, such as training our hardworking staff and giving them better skills and more time to spend caring for our vulnerable loved one’s and ensuring their quality of life.

Not only does the introduction of vouchers benefit those reliant on care, they also provide numerous benefits to our care workers who are currently undervalued and underpaid. Such a scheme would allow for more training and better wages, which in turn leads to a more motivated workforce. It would also release the funding to allow for more personalised ‘hands on’ care, leading to them feeling more valued by service users and their families.

Brexit has already led to an ONS prediction of a lack of 380,000 workers by 2026, due to one in every six adult social care roles filled from overseas. We need out of the box solutions to tackle this before it becomes a reality. Proper funding and proper wages will motivate our workforce and give them the tools necessary to keep our care system afloat.

Not only does our care system benefit from the introduction of adult social care vouchers, but business owners and their employees can also see advantages to the employee benefit. Vouchers would help deliver immediate value in terms of recruitment and retention of talent, while working towards longer term objectives of increased wellbeing and reduced absenteeism.

We need to fix our broken adult social care system now. We need to put politics aside and put the individual first to give every person access to the care they need and deserve. We need to focus on the long-term future of funding and introduce a range of solutions which make care sustainable.

Adult social care vouchers demonstrate the type of radical solutions we need to fix the broken care system. Working alongside other initiatives, this scheme is the best chance this generation has to have access to quality adult social care.

edited on Dec 13, 2018 by John Woodward OBE

Adam DHSC 6 months ago

Dear John,
Thanks for your comment and overview of some of the issues. I have passed on your comment to my colleague to look into this further. You mention 'out of the box solutions' and i wonder whether you had thought of any others that may help with the social care workforce?

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