The Government announced its ‘People at the Heart of Care White Paper’ in December 2021, promising to invest more than £500 million in the social care workforce over the next three years. But the Department of Health and Social Care has now stated that the dedicated investment is to be backed by £250 million, with the original £150 million for digitisation across the sector reduced to £100 million. Social Care Minister Helen Whately reassured listeners at the annual Care England conference that the package was designed to “recognise care with the status it deserves”.
The King’s Fund expressed dismay at the reduced figures, while Age UK said the measures weren’t enough to “transform social care”. The report also excluded plans for £25 million to support unpaid carers and £300 million to integrate housing into local health and care strategies. Following disappointment over the lack of social care in the Chancellor’s March 2021 Spring Statement, Budget 2021 is awaited with high expectations.
The Department of Health and Social Care and its call for evidence with Skills for Care is expected to result in the provision of hundreds of thousands of training places, including the new Care Certificate qualification, with the employment of more than a million care workers envisioned. The Worker Pathway is designed to enable career progression from entry level receipt of the Care Certificate through Recognised Learning and Continuing Professional Development. The package also addresses the need for speedier hospital discharge platforms, with £1.6 billion over two years allocated for this, alongside investment in digital social care records.
The company mentioned in the article is Care England, a care provider for people with learning disabilities. They published a report in March 2021 which highlighted the 42% of surveyed organisations who closed down parts of their business or handed back contracts to local authorities due to financial pressures and the low level of pay as the biggest barrier to recruitment and retention.
The person mentioned in the article is Helen Whately, Social Care Minister for the UK. Throughout her December talk at the annual Care England conference she exercised her commitment to a Government ‘that backs social care’. Whately was confident of the package, emphasising how “care depends completely on the people who do the caring” and how their plan was to focus on “recognising care with the status it deserves”. She later confirmed that the primary focus of the reforms was the “better use of technology, the power of data and digital care records, and extra funding for councils”.