Social care deprioritised, opposition warns

Social care has not been made the priority it should be during the Coronavirus crisis and is at risk of being ignored once more, Labour has said.

22 Jun 2020| News

The social care sector has not received the attention it deserves from the government during the Coronavirus crisis and beyond, the Labour Party has said.

Shadow Secretary for Social Care, Liz Kendall, has criticised her opposite, Matt Hancock, for deprioritising both care workers and unpaid carers looking after ill relatives.

Her comments follow an announcement from the Health Secretary that he cannot guarantee his department will fulfil Boris Johnson’s promise of reforming the social care sector by the end of the year.

“That was before Coronavirus,” he explained. “We will still try to do that but it is not straightforward.”

But Liz Kendall urged Hancock to make social care reforms an immediate priority, especially given the sector was already in crisis before the pandemic struck.

“This issue cannot be kicked into the long grass any longer and should be an integral part of the country’s overall recovery strategy,” she told the Health Secretary.

“I hope a plan for the future funding and provision of social care will be published by the government by the end of the year.”

On unpaid carers, Kendall said there were 9 million people looking after family members before Coronavirus and 70% are now providing an average of 10 hours more care per week.

She said: “Action must be taken to ensure unpaid carers get the support they need during Coronavirus and beyond.”

The Labour Party called for testing for care home workers, PPE for families visiting care homes, and mental health support for those employed in social care.

“Many frontline care workers have been through extremely stressful and sometimes traumatic situations as a result of Covid-19,” Kendall said.

“The need to provide additional mental health support to NHS staff has rightly been recognised; the same must also be available for those working in social care.”