Personnel reform fund Social care halved: What does that mean for those in need of care?

Social care staff: Funding for workforce overhaul will be halved to £250m

Social care staff: Funding for workforce overhaul will be halved to £250m

The Government’s plans to digitize welfare and empower the workforce were undermined today by news that it plans to withhold £600m from a £1.7bn reform package announced just over a year ago.

News that this included halving additional funding for employees to £250million led to allegations of “treason” and a failure to address “poverty payments” in the industry.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the “renewed” plans will benefit people who receive care, staff and providers by accelerating discharges from hospitals and accelerating the use of technology.

This update builds on commitments made in late 2021 to support career advancement in the industry and “ensure those who receive care get it in the right place at the right time,” it said today.

The reduced extra funding for care workers follows the government’s decision last autumn to put on hold imposing a spending cap on lifelong care until autumn 2025, the other side of the next election.

This plan would introduce a £86,000 cap on how much a person would have to spend on care – but based on some, not all, of their private contributions and not the total cost – and the threshold for starting to receive support from £23,250 raise £100,000.

We look at what was announced today and what it will mean for people in need of care, their families and staff working in the sector below.

What does the government’s ‘renewed’ social welfare plan entail?

Projects funded by the Ministry of Health include:

– Advice on workforce restructuring, including hundreds of thousands of apprenticeships and a new qualification – supported by £250m, down from £500m

– Accelerating digitisation, including records – £100m, less than £150m

– Creation of a new unit to research “creative solutions” such as B. Helping councils reduce waiting times for care assessment and sharing best practice – £35m

How is care currently paid for?

Under the current system, a person’s assets – including the family home – will be depleted to £23,250 if they have to go into a care home.

If you require care in your own home, your assets must be reduced to a level set by your local council, which cannot be less than £23,250, but your home is exempt from this means test.

– Management of a fund can take action such as increasing rates paid to social care providers and reducing waiting times – £1.4bn

– Providing small adjustments people need to stay at home like grab bars and ramps, repairs and security checks – £102m

– Increased Better Care Fund to help older people and those with complex needs live at home longer and improve hospital discharge schemes – £8.1bn in 2023 and £8.7bn in 2024.

No mention was made today of a previously announced sum of £25m to support unpaid caregivers and £300m to integrate housing into local health and care strategies.

The Department of Health denied that any funding announced for adult social care had been removed from the sector or reallocated to the NHS.

But it says up to £600m has yet to be allocated while it considers how best to use it and focus funding on actions with the greatest impact.

What does this mean for people in need of care, their relatives and employees?

Today’s news unleashed a flurry of criticism, with one healthcare think tank calling it an “ill-advised raid on a welfare system that is already on the brink”.

“This multi-million pound cut in funding to improve the system will be seen as a betrayal by those working in the sector and the millions of people struggling to access the care they need,” says Natasha Curry, policy expert at the Nuffield Trust.

This cut of millions of pounds in funding to improve the system is seen as a betrayal by those working in the sector and the millions of people struggling to access the care they need

Natasha Curry, Nuffield Trust

“Having the money to support the overwhelmed social services workforce in half is a particularly low blow given a cost-of-living, recruitment and retention crisis that is affecting social services.

“It is all very well to create a qualifications framework, but if employers don’t have the money to recognize improved qualifications with better wages, it will fail.”

Social care is “in crisis” and the government’s strong long-term vision to improve it lies in tatters following today’s announcement, according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

“It’s ducking the tough decisions and kicking the can back out into the street until after the next election,” says the body’s president, Sarah McClinton.

“Adult social care is in crisis, with job vacancies at an all-time high and half a million people waiting for care and support.

“Now is not the time to withhold funding, it needs to reach the people who need care and support as soon as possible. And these funds should only be a start.”

McClinton predicts more family and friends will have to intervene where they can and more people will deteriorate and be hospitalised, causing further damage to the NHS and the economy.


Commenting on the Government plans released today, Caroline Abrahams, Director of Charities at Age UK and Co-Chair of the Care & Support Alliance, said: “In fair winds these announcements could take us almost to base camp of social care over the next few years.

“But that’s hard to swallow when millions of elderly and disabled people and their unpaid carers needed something much bigger, bolder and truly more strategic to give them hope for the future.

“With a significant chunk of the money originally promised for care now unavailable, our CSA members tell us this is just the latest in a long line of disappointments in the government’s recent social care performance. “

Abrahams pointed out that many local authorities will continue to make cuts in welfare this year as demand for welfare continues to rise, making the outlook for elderly and disabled people in need of care and their unpaid carers rather bleak.

“While we have yet to see the details of the plan, we understand that it does not include a commitment to provide nursing staff with an immediate pay rise,” she says.

‘In our view this is a huge missed opportunity as we will never really make social care fit for purpose until we have addressed the issue of poverty payments, making the job more competitive against roles in retail, hospitality and the NHS.’

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