The National Care Forum has expressed its disappointment after the government significantly reduced its promised support for the social care workforce.
Having promised in its People at the Heart of Care white paper that £1.7bn would be set aside to support the social care workforce and people drawing upon care, the government has now cut that figure to £572m. This includes a reduction of the £500m originally set aside for workforce training, qualifications and wellbeing to £250m.
Responding to the announcement, NCF CEO Professor Vic Rayner OBE said: “The People at the Heart of Care reforms are in tatters. Yet again the government has repackaged and reduced existing promises of support and funding, only to announce them as if they are new. It has now been 16 months since People at the Heart of Care was first published and so far, nothing substantial has been delivered in that time apart from delays and very significant reductions in the ambition of the reforms.
“At a time when the workforce is facing unprecedented recruitment and retention challenges, and on the same day that the Hewitt Review recommends the creation of a workforce plan for adult social care, it is unconscionable that the government would reduce workforce funding and axe all wellbeing measures. The Hewitt Review calls for a shift towards prevention by Integrated Care Systems – this can’t be done without investing in adult social care. The government’s actions so far do nothing to stop growing unmet need or to combat shrinking capacity in the wider system.
“The announcements today completely undermine the original vision of person-centred reform. People no longer appear to be at heart of the reforms and no attempt has been made to co-produce this new plan with either people working in adult social care, or those seeking to draw upon it. Social care reform stays in the slow lane despite the promises made 16 months ago. It is clearly time for a much more ambitious vision for social care shaped by those who draw on it and those who work so hard to provide it, to enable independent lives – we need a rethink and we need action now, not a diluted repackaging of disappointing announcements.”