Parliamentary briefing: Publication of government proposals for the reform of social care, House of Lords, Oral Question
- Following a decade of numerous commissions, reviews and the much-delayed social care white paper, it is vital that political parties work cross party to ensure that social care is placed on a sustainable footing as soon as possible.
- Demand for health and social care services is increasing year-on-year, largely driven by an ageing population with increasingly complex care needs.
- Even prior to COVID-19, the social care sector was under extreme pressure, due to years of underfunding, 122,000 workforce shortages and a fragile provider market.
- Cuts to local authority budgets have created a significant funding gap in social care, and are estimated to be £2.6bn in 2020/21. This has inevitably placed additional pressure on NHS services and meant that patients and service users have not always benefitted from the right forms of support to meet their needs.
- The care home sector suffered considerably during the first wave of the pandemic, with high numbers of excess deaths and emergency funding unable to repair the damage caused by years of underinvestment. A public inquiry into the UK’s response to COVID-19 will need to examine why this was the case.