Social care ministers have been warned not to see the forthcoming green paper on the funding of care for older adults as a “cure-all”.
In a new report, the Public Accounts Committee has said the government “underestimates the scale” of the workforce challenge facing social care in England. Calling for the Department of Health and Social Care to publish a credible plan for the sector by the year-end, committee chair Meg Hillier MP said: “The forthcoming Green Paper must not be the start of yet another protracted debate about the future funding of care.”
In its analysis of the adult social care workforce in England, the PAC makes six recommendations to the DHSC for a strong adult social care sector:
- Establish quickly the funding local authorities need to commission care at fair prices, to support a workforce of the right size and shape to deliver a sustainable care sector in the long-term
- Within two months, improve oversight and engagement with the social care market, with the CQC adequately resourced to carry out any further work
- Put plans in place to address any workforce shortfalls following Brexit
- Include in the forthcoming workforce strategy a plan to professionalise the care workforce further and consider a mandatory minimum standard for training
- Adequately fund Skills for Care to support workforce training and development
- Run a national campaign to promote care.
In its report, the parliamentary watchdog concludes that social care is underfunded, with the care workforce suffering from low pay, low esteem and high turnover of staff.
Ms Hillier said: “The care sector is in a precarious state.”