It’s likely that all of us will draw on social care at some point in our lives. Last year, local authorities received almost 2 million new requests for adult social care support. Covering everything from help getting dressed in the morning, to long term old age residential care.
For the workers who deliver the care, it's a demanding job.
Joanna is the Director of a domiciliary care company in Kent. They are six staff down at the moment and struggling to recruit. She believes things are close to breaking point:
There are over one and a half million people working in adult social care. In October the Care Quality Commission said we could see a “tsunami of unmet need” in the sector because of staff shortages.
Sam Monaghan from MHA -the largest charity care provider- told us;
Over the next five months the Government’s running its ‘Made with Care’ campaign to try to fill the massive 100,000 job vacancies in the sector and will introduce the social care reforms over the next two years.
But what will these reforms mean for most of us?
Currently if you have property or savings worth more than £23,250 you have to pay for your own care, which has meant people often having to sell their homes. But, from October 2023 there will be a limit on how much money people will have to pay for care.
Natasha Curry is from an independent health think tank.
So the first element of the reform was a cap on care costs. And that means that no one will have to pay any more than eighty six thousand pounds in their lifetime towards the cost of their care. The second part of the reform was a change to what we call the means test. So if you have assets, a property, savings, etc under a hundred thousand pounds, you may be eligible for some financial support from the council, but if you have assets and savings under twenty thousand pounds in the new proposals, you will get access to public funding. - Natasha Curry, Nuffield Trust
Natalie’s Dad Jimmy, developed Alzheimers in 2018. When his condition deteriorated the family realised he needed round the clock care. The costs of private care meant that they had no choice but to sell their Dad’s home and use the proceeds to fund his care.
Sadly Jimmy passed away just a few months after the house was sold. Natalie believes that the new reforms wouldn’t have made any difference to their situation- as the family didn’t have access to a pot of £86,000 for Jimmy’s care- or further funds to pay for his living costs.
In order to fund the reforms there will be a rise in our national insurance from next April. It’s expected to raise £36 billion over three years, with just over 5 billion of that ring fenced for social care in England.
The extra money has been welcomed by the Local Government Association but Cllr David Fothergill believes that:
The Government told us:
We are committed to delivering world-leading social care across the country and investing an additional £5.4bn over three years, which will allow us to begin a comprehensive programme of reform for adult social care – including £500m to support the development and wellbeing of the care workforce.