Responding to a report from the Health and Social Care Committee, which calls for a £7bn annual increase in social care funding, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “For too long, social care reform has been left to gather dust, with services overstretched, underfunded, and understaffed for decades.
“The BMA’s recent report on social care1 described the damaging impact the current state of social care is having on the NHS, and called for a substantial funding increase along with steps to widen access. In the wake of Covid-19 there is a growing consensus that urgent action is needed to revitalise social care and we’re pleased to see these calls echoed by the Committee in today’s report.
“We also welcome the Committee’s call for more competitive pay for social care workers to ensure parity with NHS staff, given the current gaps in the social care workforce – estimated at more than 100,000 vacancies – and very high turnover rates within the sector. We must tackle the workforce crises facing both the NHS and social care together.
“People are living longer with increasingly complex conditions and proper investment in social care is essential to ensuring people who don’t need to be in hospital, stay out of it – something Covid-19 has recently shone a light on. It was heart-breaking to see the impact the virus had on care homes at the height of the pandemic, all because of chronic underfunding and the long-standing attitude that social care is an afterthought compared to other NHS services.
“The Westminster Government now needs to listen to ours and the Committee’s concerns and urgently bring forward plans to ensure these services are properly resourced, not only for the duration of Covid-19, but for good.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
1. To read our social car paper, click here.