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Care Funding Crisis

Monday, September 14, 2015

GMB Call For Care Home Fees To Be Increased To £600 Per Week Backed By TUC Congress In Brighton

Years of chronic underfunding by successive governments has made today's care safety net one of "from cradle to care home door" says GMB.

A GMB motion calling .for fair funding for social care was debated and carried at the TUC Congress in Brighton on Sunday 13th September. See notes to editors for copy of motion and copy of GMB speech moving the motion.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer speaking on the motion, said  “A time bomb is ticking under the system of care for our elderly and vulnerable, the product of chronic underfunding and society's failure to face up to its responsibilities to those - who paid tax and national insurance all their lives - in their times of need.

Yet for social care, years of chronic underfunding by successive governments has made today's safety net one of "cradle to care home door".  Unlike the NHS, which can still be held up as a beacon of our values, for the one in twenty of us who will go into a care home, this crumbling pillar of society represents a betrayal of hundreds of thousands of citizens who contributed to this country all their lives.

Care employs around one million workers. Over 400,000 people are in residential care, more than twice that number receive care in their own home.

  • Fees must rise immediately to at least the £600 per week as set out in Rowntree Foundation Fair Care Model;
  • a new and independent Training Commission must be formed, responsible for ensuring the supply of UK trained staff - for all occupations - to meet future demand in the care sector and the NHS;
  • there must be new government funding for universal standards of care sector training through training support grants to the public and private sectors;
  • care occupations should be registered and seen as a career path, giving those working in the sector the status they deserve, banishing the low paid, unappreciated, "invisible" roles tolerated today;
  • and care workers should be paid to at least a living wage of £7.85 per hour and £9.20 per hour in London."

Ends

Contact: Justin Bowden GMB National Officer on 07710 631 351 or Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB National Officer on 07956 237178 or GMB Press Office 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.

Notes to editors:

1 Text of GMB motion

 Fair funding for social care

Congress agrees: The modern welfare state’s founding principles of social insurance provided a “cradle to grave” safety net for all.

ii Years of chronic underfunding in social care mean today’s safety net is ‘cradle to care home door’, betraying our vulnerable and elderly who paid National Insurance and tax all their lives, and causing the slow-motion collapse of the care sector.

iii Underfunding social care costs the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds from avoidable admissions and bed-blocking.

iv Politicians of all parties must address the social care funding crisis.

v Without serious fees and funding increases, more Southern Cross style collapses are inevitable, and more people will be hospitalised and for longer.

vi The high turnover of carers and perennial shortages of nurses and other specialist staff affects quality of care, increasing NHS and care costs.

vii Providing no state funding for care sector training is an illogical false economy.

viii Care sector training standards should be universal, funded by government through training support grants to the public and private sectors.

ix Care occupations should be registered and seen as a career path, not low paid, unappreciated, ‘invisible’ roles.

Congress instructs the General Council to campaign for:

a: immediate care sector fees and funding increases to at least £600 per week as per the Rowntree Foundation Fair Care Model

b: a new and independent Training Commission responsible for ensuring the supply of UK trained staff – for all occupations – to meet future demand in the care sector and NHS

c: new government funding for care sector training.

 

2  Text of speech on motion 34 – Fair Funding for social care

President, Congress, Justin Bowden, GMB, moving motion 34.

A time bomb is ticking under the system of care for our elderly and vulnerable, the product of chronic underfunding and society's failure to face up to its responsibilities to those - who paid tax and national insurance all their lives - in their times of need.

There is something is badly wrong with this society’s priorities when the important job of stacking shelves in a supermarket is valued more highly than the vital job of caring for our elderly and vulnerable.

 

Britain’s modern welfare state was intended to provide a "cradle to grave" safety net for all.  Founded on the principles of social insurance, its introduction came with all party support.  During their working lives, citizens paid into the system via their taxes and national insurance contributions and the welfare state was there – as and when needed - to ensure adequate income, health care, education, housing and employment.

 

Yet for social care, years of chronic underfunding by successive governments has made today's safety net one of "cradle to care home door".  Unlike the NHS, which can still be held up as a beacon of our values, for the one in twenty of us who will go into a care home, this crumbling pillar of society represents a betrayal of hundreds of thousands of citizens who contributed to this country all their lives. 

 

Does today’s care sector really represent the full value as a society we place on our vulnerable and elderly, and those who care for them?

 

It is easy to forget just how big this industry is. (The figures are astronomical). Care employs around one million workers. Over 400,000 people are in residential care, more than twice that number receive care in their own home.

 

The budget for adult social care is 19 billion pounds a year, most of it spent by local authorities; but funding is not ring-fenced and the gap is growing by 700 million a year, predicted to reach 4.3 billion by 2020.

 

Catastrophe looms, even before the so-called Living Wage comes in next year.

The care sector is riven with high turnover of staff and perennial shortages of nurses and other specialist roles.  This not only directly affects the quality of care but increases NHS costs to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds from avoidable hospital admissions and bed-blocking.  Just as providing no state funding for care sector training is an illogical false economy, it is frankly bonkers to underfund the care sector.

 

Without serious fees and funding increases, more Southern Cross style collapses are inevitable, more care homes will be closed and more care beds lost.  The knock-on effects on the NHS are obvious and imminent: more people will be hospitalised - and for longer - and the NHS will buckle and break.

 

Fees must rise immediately to at least the £600 per week Rowntree Foundation Fair Care Model; a new and independent Training Commission must be formed, responsible for ensuring the supply of UK trained staff - for all occupations - to meet future demand in the care sector and the NHS; there must be new government funding for universal standards of care sector training through training support grants to the public and private sectors; care occupations should be registered and seen as a career path, giving those working in the sector the status they deserve, banishing the low paid, unappreciated, "invisible" roles tolerated today; and last, but by no means least, all care workers should be paid to at least the Living Wage Foundation level.

 

We are all voyeurs in the slow motion collapse of the care sector from an acute lack of funds and an imbalance in the interface between care and the NHS.  Aside from the obvious effects on those needing to use the sector, it makes no structural or economic sense.  Politicians of all parties must address the funding crisis, stop talking about the integration of health and care - and act, beginning with the Chancellor in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review.  And it is high time for all of us to face up to the real cost of caring for the ones we love and for ourselves in later life.  If the money being thrown at corporation tax cuts, and the uncollected taxes on property incomes going to tax havens, went into social care - the country could start looking itself in the mirror again, and our elderly and vulnerable would get the quality of care they deserve.

 

Please support.  I move.

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