Social care groups call for action, not words, from PM who again pledges to ‘fix care home funding’

Social care organisations called for action from Boris Johnson on funding reform for the sector after the Prime Minister again pledged to set out a plan to deal with the situation.

Mr Johnson used his address to the virtual Conservative Party conference to insist he would “fix the injustice of care home funding”.

However, groups and charities involved in social care insisted a detailed strategy was now urgently needed.

The Prime Minister (pictured) told the virtual conference: “We will fix the injustice of care home funding, bringing the magic of averages to the rescue of millions.

“Covid has shone a spotlight on the difficulties of that sector in all parts of the UK – and to build back better we must respond, care for the carers as they care for us.”

The phrase regarding bringing the “magic of averages to the rescue of millions” was previously used by Winston Churchill.

Churchill used the description to refer to bringing in insurance to cover the costs of people in need of social payments.

Nuffield Trust deputy director of policy Natasha Curry branded the speech a “missed opportunity”.

She said: “The Prime Minister is absolutely right to name the crisis in social care as a major problem facing our country, but this is yet another missed opportunity to set out a clear plan.

“We have been waiting for well over a year since his first speech promising action, without seeing any basic details of what a new system might look like.

“His implication that problems are confined to older people in care homes again ignores the breadth of the sector and the needs of working aged adults.

“And while we support the notion of caring for carers, there has so far been an absence of concrete proposals to address severe workforce challenges or to offer better support to the millions of unpaid carers who fill in the gaps in formal care services.”

Simon Bottery, senior fellow at The King’s Fund, said the Prime Minister’s words were a long way from his original promise to take action.

He said: “The social care system is not fit for purpose and while the Prime Minister’s speech puts welcome focus back on the issue, this is still a long way from his earlier promise to fix social care ‘once and for all’.

“Talking about ‘the magic of averages’ is no substitute for a clear proposal on what needs to be done to resolve the entrenched problems in social care and the catastrophic costs faced by many in their old age.”

Carers UK chief executive Helen Walker said detail was needed from Government.

She stated: “Time and again we have had promises from the Government that it will fix social care. It is good to hear this commitment reiterated but now we need to see the detail.”

Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum said: “It is imperative that we move quickly from warm words to delivery – this is not a moonshot moment – this is about urgently putting on the table thought through proposals which are ambitious for the people who receive care, rewards the skilled and professional staff and enables effective investment in a sector fit for now and the future.”

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