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The ICG is keen to spread the word about the amazing work our sector does and to discuss issues affecting the delivery of social care in this country. To that end we are happy to provide the following for journalists looking for social care sector input:

• Interviewees for TV and radio

• On-the-record comment for print and online publications

• Background briefings for journalists, producers and programme makers

• Press releases with our comment on issues

 

Contact: Mike PadghamChair

Independent Care Group and Executive Chairman, Saint Cecilia’s Care Group

m: 07971 111062

e: mikepadgham@independentcaregroup.co.uk

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The Independent Care Group says the new Government should work in partnership with providers to create a new powerhouse of social care provision for the country.

The ICG has called for a new spirit of collaboration to tackle the crisis in the sector.

And it says a joint approach between the government and the sector could meet social care needs, boost employment and aid economic growth.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “In just a few days, the Government has demonstrated a willingness to take a collaborative approach to issues facing the country – and we believe that is the best way to tackle the challenges facing social care too.

“Far too often in the past, governments have shied away from working with the sector to find solutions with the result that little has been achieved and the crisis in the care of older, vulnerable and disabled adults has deepened.

“Organisations like ours have a depth of experience and understanding of the social care sector that is freely available to the Government, along with our views and practical suggestions on the most important things that can be done to improve social care.

“We very much hope the Government will embrace the opportunity to work with the sector to reform social care for the good of millions of people who need it and those who provide it.”

The ICG has written to the new Prime Minister as well as Health Secretary Wes Streeting and Social Care Minister Stephen Kinnock, seeking a meeting to discuss solutions. Some 1.6m people currently can’t get the care they need and the sector is short of 152,000 staff, with demand for services increasing rapidly.

The ICG welcomed Mr Streeting’s call for the NHS and social care to be “engines of economic growth”.

Mr Padgham added: “This echoes our own approach of the past few years.“We have long argued that aside from the huge social benefits social care provides, it also provides significant economic benefits too.

“The sector employs 1.6m people - which is more than the NHS – and contributes £55.7bn to the economy. Investing in social care would significantly improve both of those figures. Evidence suggests £1 invested in social care brings benefits worth £1.75.

“We will need to grow the sector as we will need an extra 440,000 social care workers to meet rising demand for care services, by 2035.

“Some 80% of us will need social care in our lifetimes and the number of people with dementia will soon top a million.

“At the moment an average of 14,000 people a week can’t leave hospital because there is no social care available for them. Switching funds from the NHS to enable social care to meet that demand through homecare or care and nursing home beds, will actually save the NHS money and boost the economic contribution the sector makes. Everybody wins – especially those people who are crying out for care.”

 


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Our Chair, Mike Padgham, gives his view on what Labour must do first to reform social care in the full text of an article that appeared in the Yorkshire Post.


The election is over, the people have spoken and we have a new Government to take us more or less to the end of the 2020s…

In fairness to them, since the results were declared, Labour has hit the ground running, with new PM Sir Keir Starmer not allowing his first Cabinet to get used to their new offices but instead getting them out, starting the work of government.

The Foreign Secretary, David Lammy is touring Germany, Poland and Sweden;  Defence Secretary John Healey has been to Ukraine and Sir Keir himself is on a tour of the UK.

All well and good, but it is closer to home that those of us champing at the bit for social care reform want to see urgent action.

It is encouraging to see new Health Secretary Wes Streeting getting straight on with talks to try to end the junior doctors' strikes. That must be a priority.

But close to the top of that list must be measures to tackle the crisis in social care. If the NHS is ‘broken’ as Mr Streeting says, then social care must be regarded as falling apart.

And we will not be able to repair one without mending the other.

For Labour, and for those of us campaigning on behalf of one cause or another, the hard work starts now.

We have to persuade the new PM and Mr Streeting – to make reform of social care a priority. They will have a letter from me to that effect amongst all the others in their in-trays. I have invited both to visit us here in North Yorkshire to see first-hand the challenges currently facing social care. I hope Mr Streeting in particular will accept that invitation very soon.

Labour has promised a National Care Service, eventually; greater social care integration with NHS services and fairer pay, terms and conditions for the workforce. It also says it will honour the scheduled cap on care costs to prevent people from having to sell their homes to pay for care.

I have no argument with their proposals – save maybe that they lack the bold, once-in-a-generation opportunity approach we might have hoped for.

What does concern me, however, is their timetable. They have hinted that it will take the first five years of their government to see a start to change. In his first speech in the role, Mr Streeting warned that the NHS would not be fixed overnight, but he is getting on with the job. We hope that he is similarly swift in tackling the issues in social care, as both have to be tackled in tandem.

For too long social care has been the poor relation to NHS care and it shows. Mr Streeting needs to demonstrate that he views them both equally. He could show his commitment by renaming his department the Department of Social Care and Health…

There are things that simply have to change: to get care to 1.6m people who currently can’t get it; to provide care packages to the average of 14,000 people who cannot be discharged from hospital each week because there is no help available for them and to pay staff properly and tackle the 152,000 staff vacancies in the sector. These things cannot wait and certainly not for a slew of reports, white papers, green papers and such that we have seen before. I am also no fan of the “cross-party talks” that politicians seem to favour when it comes to discussions on social care. Yes, it would be nice if everyone agreed with whatever proposals are put forward, but the chances are they won’t, and we haven’t time for party politics when people’s quality of life is at stake.

Our minds will rest easier if we see some positive action quickly. We have been let down by previous promises of social care reform that came to nothing. A certain Boris Johnson, standing where Sir Keir stood last week, promising to get social care done ‘once and for all.’ We all know how that worked out… it didn’t.

I think we all need the reassurance and evidence that things will be different this time.

We have therefore urged Mr Starmer and Mr Streeting to do the following during their first 100 days of Government: tap into and use the expertise of organisations like ours to see what needs to be done from day one; immediately reverse the Conservatives’ ban on overseas recruits bringing over their dependents, which has stifled vital recruitment; introduce and fund a minimum wage for social care staff, supported by ring-fenced funding for commissioners to pay for it and set minimum, standardised rates for care beds and homecare hours that commissioners must pay when purchasing care. And we have asked them to raise carers’ allowance for unpaid carers who do such an amazing job.

They might not be described as “quick wins” but nor are they issues that need months of navel-gazing consideration before they can be implemented. They will need funding but should be paid for by switching resources from the NHS to social care. And they will save the NHS money by keeping people out of costly hospitals.

There will be many who argue that we need to take a slow, measured approach to make sure we get social care reform right this time. I cannot argue with that.

But sometimes, rather than plan and prepare for the perfect solution, you just need to get on and do the sensible things that will make the most difference quickly and get into the details and the debates later. This is one of those times.

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The Independent Care Group today calls on the new Government to work together with the social care sector to bring about life-changing reform to the way the country looks after older, vulnerable and disabled adults.

The ICG has written to congratulate new Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and to urge him to sit down with care providers to tackle the crisis in the sector, straight away.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We congratulate Labour on an historic and impressive victory and know that as the new Government begins today there is no better time to begin vital and long-overdue reform of adult social care.

“We have therefore written to Sir Keir Starmer and to Wes Streeting, who we anticipate will be the new health secretary, inviting them to engage with the social care sector to begin the challenge of transforming the sector and improving people’s lives.”

In his letter Mr Padgham says:

“I know there will be a million vital issues commanding your attention during these early days of your administration.“I do, however, wish to make the case for social care to be placed at the top of those priorities and to invite you and your ministers to engage with the sector on urgent reform.“After some 30 years of neglect, the care of older, vulnerable and disabled people in this country cannot wait any longer.

“The statistics are well known: 1.6m people unable to access the care they need, 152,000 vacancies in the social care sector and providers leaving the market at an alarming rate.“Some 80% of us will need social care in our lifetime and to cope with ever-increasing demand, we will need a further 440,000 social care workers in the next 11 years.

“Social care providers in the independent sector stand ready and able to provide the Government with all the help, support, information and suggestions you might need to tackle the crisis.

"All we ask is the opportunity to meet with and engage with you to help begin the task.”

In its manifesto, the ICG called for a National Care Service, bringing NHS healthcare and social care under one roof, allied to greater investment in the sector and better recognition and reward for the workforce. It wants to see care provided for the 1.6m people who currently can’t access it and dementia treated like other serious conditions like heart disease and cancer and its treatment funded through the NHS.

The ICG says the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and staff shortages followed years of neglect and under-funding by politicians from all parties and combined to leave the sector in deep crisis.

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