A Labour government would invest millions of pounds in developing the social care workforce and keeping people with learning disabilities and autism out of hospital, the party has announced.
It also set out a commitment to fund home care packages for 160,000 more older people, including 50,000 people with dementia.
“We want care staff to be properly paid and trained”
The announcement comes after a promise already made by Labour to increase social care spending by £8bn over the lifetime of the next parliament, if is was elected.
Today, the party’s shadow minister for mental health, Barbara Keeley, revealed that £350m of that cash would go into training and developing the social care workforce.
There is predicted to be a 12% registered nurse vacancy rate in adult social care, with around 5,000 empty posts.
In addition, Ms Keeley said £350m per year would be invested in helping people with autism and learning disabilities move back into the community from inappropriate inpatient units.
Labour would also spend £2.8bn on home care packages to enable more vulnerable people to live independently by providing help with daily tasks such as washing and preparing meals.
Ms Keeley claimed people with dementia were being “unfairly punished” by having to pay for social care when those with other conditions had it paid for through the NHS continuing care scheme.
She also hit out at the delay in publication of the government’s social care green paper, which was orginally due to be released two years ago.
“This Tory government has shamefully abandoned older people and young adults with care needs,” she said.
“There is still no sign of their social care green paper which was promised over two years ago, and vulnerable older people have needlessly suffered as a result of the Government’s failure,” she added.
“That should be a cause of shame”
“People with dementia are unfairly punished when it comes to paying for their care needs so Labour will correct this injustice in government,” said Ms Keeley.
“We want care staff to be properly paid and trained, so that they can provide the kind of compassionate care that they want to give,” she stated.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said the current state of social care “should be a cause for shame”.
Source: Neil O’Connor
“Labour’s proposals are a welcome contribution to the debate this country must have about how we solve the crisis in social care,” he said.
“Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are being deprived of the care and support they need, and services in some parts of the country are on the verge of collapse,” he added. “That should be a cause of shame.”
He noted that the problems in social care were having a knock-on effect on the NHS and was preventing it from achieving its “vision”.
“We have big ambitions to deliver more joined up services, closer to where people live,” he noted. “But this vision will not be achieved without an effective social care system in place.”