Released On 12th Aug 2023
Letter from Minister of State for Social Care
A letter from the Minister of State for Social Care has been published, setting out Government's priorities for the sector this winter.
The letter from the Minister of State for Social Care, Helen Whately MP, outlines Government's assessment of the critical actions needed across the adult social care sector to protect individuals and their carers and deliver operational resilience in winter 2023 to 2024. The letter discusses the following topics:
- Workforce capacity, market sustainability and improvement.
- Intermediate care and discharge from hospital.
- Energy and adverse weather.
- Infection prevention and control (IPC) and visiting.
- Unpaid carers.
The letter comes as Government announced last week it is allocating an additional £600m over two years to local authorities. Of this, Government states that £570m will be provided through a workforce fund that builds on the existing Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund and will enable local authorities to make tangible improvements to adult social care workforce capacity, including to boost care worker pay, Government claims. The remaining £30m will be allocated to local authorities in the most challenged health systems.
In addition, Government revealed details of a £10m per year programme which aims to enhance research into adult social care and inform future social care policies. The National Institute for Health and Care Research will collect information on the people at the heart of care, providing Government and the sector with feedback on how they can improve, expand and strengthen social care for people in need of care, carers, the social care workforce and the public.
In response to Government's latest funding announcement, Helen Wildbore, Director at Care Rights UK, said, 'It is welcome to see this promised money now materialising. We need to see it quickly trickle down and make a difference for people needing care. Every day we hear from people struggling to get the basics, with their dignity and safety at risk. We fear this pot will quickly run down and where is the longer-term plan for tackling this crisis and the badly needed reform of the sector?'
Liz Jones, Policy Director at the National Care Forum (NCF), said, 'We welcome the announcement of this ringfenced funding to local authorities intended to support the social care workforce. Hopefully, the clear grant conditions will ensure that it gets passed on to providers to enable them to reward their staff better, well in advance of winter pressures.
'It’s good to see that ministers have responded to the calls from the NCF and the Nuffield Trust for dedicated funds to support our workforce and to the recommendations in the long read which we collaborated with the Nuffield Trust to produce. One of our main asks in that long read is that funding to support winter pressures is not allocated in an emergency, short term and chaotic way and is instead provided on a timely basis to local authorities with controls and measures in place to ensure it is used in the right way.
'We hope that our local authority colleagues will use this injection of funding to pay providers properly for the care and support they provide and ensure that we are able to better reward our social care workforce properly. It is essential that our fantastic workforce feel the benefit of this extra cash and we hope that the result will be an easier winter for both those delivering care and support and those receiving it.
'And, of course, a long term social care workforce plan, to sit alongside the NHS long term workforce plan, is still the key to ensuring a sustainable social care workforce for the years to come.'
'The £10m for social care research is a welcome step – it is essential that the NHIR use this funding to produce research with the sector, for the sector, by the sector and works with us to shape the research it can deliver to make sure it really does benefit those drawing on care and support and those working so hard to deliver it.'