Social care worker sat with an older woman

New social care workforce funding

The government has announced a new funding package to help with recruitment and retention in social care.

Supporting the care workforce, as well as increasing the capacity of social care, will help to support the NHS ahead of the winter, with this coming after the Care Minister wrote to local authorities to talk about preparing for the colder months. The funding, worth £600 million, will be split into two main parts, with £570 million going to funding the social care workforce over the course of two years and the remaining £30 million being allocated to local authorities in the most challenged health systems.

By improving the recruitment and retention of the social care sector, workforce capacity will be increased whilst also ensuring the there is a sustainable workforce that is fit for the future. Improving the strength of the care system will make sure that the needs of the country are met better and will help the NHS to prepare for future winters, bringing down the number of hospital admissions and helping people to get discharged faster. This should, in turn, contribute to the wider goal of cutting A&E and ambulance waiting times.

Helen Whately, Minister for Care, said:

“Hundreds of thousands of older people, disabled people and their carers depend day in, day out on our social care workforce. Care workers deserve a brighter spotlight to recognise and support what they do. That’s why we’re reforming social care careers and backing our brilliant care workforce with millions in extra funding.

“Our workforce reforms will help more people pursue rewarding careers in social care with nationally recognised qualifications. Our investment in social care means more funding to go to the front line. This matters because support for our care workforce is the key to more care and better care.

“A stronger social care system, hand in hand with our NHS, will help people get the care they need, when and where they need it.”

Tangible improvements will be delivered thanks to the funding, with this building on the work that the government has already done to progress workforce reforms. These reforms were originally established in the Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care plan, which was supported by £250 million of initial funding and will help to improve the recognition of social care as a profession.

County Councils Network Spokesperson for Adult Social Care, Cllr Martin Tett, added:

“The County Councils Network (CCN) very much welcomes this timely announcement by the government. The network called for this remaining funding to be provided directly to councils as soon as possible to help tackle additional inflationary costs and demand pressures which are impacting social care services this year and next.

“With funding split over two years this will help councils mitigate some of the financial and workforce pressures over the next 18 months. It is also positive that the funding will be distributed through the existing Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund without further administrative burdens.”

The £570 million of this funding that will be allocated to local authorities is to be given as ‘flexible’ funding, with this allowing local leaders to tailor the spend to benefit the needs of the community. Examples of this could include increasing fees given to care providers, increasing the scope for better pay for care workers, or enabling genuine improvements to social care.

 

Image credit: iStock

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