The question of how we properly fund social care, what should be funded by the government and what should be funded by individuals, has been a topic of increasing debate in recent years.
The inadequacy of current levels of government funding has been clear for some time, with local councils increasingly failing to pay fees that cover the true cost of delivering care. Cuts in local authority budgets have also seen fewer older people receiving government support to help them pay for care – research by the health think tank, the King’s Fund, shows that as of 2016, six consecutive years of cuts to local authority budgets have seen 26% fewer people receive publicly funded social care
We, along with many others in the sector, have been campaigning for additional funding to be put into the system in the short term and for reforms to be introduced to make the whole system of caring for older people more sustainable over the long term. The government has promised to publish a Green Paper on social care in the autumn setting out its proposals to make the social care system more sustainable.
While we wait for the government to set out its proposals for change, it’s great to see that the wider sector is already moving ahead with sharing proposals of their own. This week, the Local Government Association, a body representing local councils across the country, has published its own Green Paper setting out ideas for how the social care system could be improved. We will be working through the detail of their proposals over the coming days and preparing our own response.
Already, it is clear that this is a serious set of proposals and it is particularly pleasing to see the local government community arguing that councils need to pay care providers a fair price for delivering care (and, of course, that they need the funding from central government to enable them to pay fair fees).
As a significant provider of residential, nursing and dementia care across our care homes and care villages, we are committed to engaging fully with both the government and the wider sector to ensure that the social care system is sustainable over both the short and long term. Wherever we can, we will look to work constructively with others in the sector, like the Local Government Association, to deliver the change that is needed to ensure that we can continue to deliver high-quality care to our residents, both now and in the future.