Home Instead is welcoming today’s pledge by the government of £600m to support the social care workforce and deliver a much-needed boost to capacity.
However, we stress that there is still a huge amount of work to be done and that continued investment will be required to support our rapidly ageing population and a healthcare system which is struggling under the pressure of the increasing demand.
The funding is made up of £570m over two years, distributed to local authorities with an additional £30m for local authorities in the most challenged health systems.
Local authorities have some way to go in understanding and prioritising quality, choice and continuity in home care. They need to cater for the needs of older people and understand that short duration visits, from carers who are swapped in and out on a daily basis and who are often under the pressure of ‘long runs’ with limited time allocated for travel, simply won’t do.
Decision makers in local authorities also need to offer adequate fee rates for home care.
In addition to the £600m package the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHCR) has launched a £10m funding programme for social care research. The research programme will collect information from people at the heart of care and establish priorities for innovation and further research into adult social care.
Ultimately, it is looking to promote new approaches that improve health and wellbeing outcomes, and we welcome this.
We understand the need for an evidence-based approach in order to fully explore what works and what doesn’t in the sector. Our own research programme with the University of York’s Social Policy Research Unit launched in 2020. Like the new social care research programme, our aim is to inform policy makers and everyone involved in the delivery of home care about the wider economic and social benefits of caring for our ageing population at home.