By James Simons-
Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee has reopened its inquiry into the underfunding of social care, The Eye Of Media.Com has heard.
The committee, chaired by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, aims to establish the impact of gaps in care funding on patients and the NHS, as well as establishing how much money the system needs over the next five years.
The inquiry was paused in March due to the impact of the coronavirus cases in but has now been reopened.
Major hospital deficits, a maintenance backlog and workforce shortages are all to be included in the investigation.
Budgets for workforce education and training, public health and capital are said to be lacking in investment.
Without further investment in these areas, quality and access to care are at risk of deteriorating further. As things stand, the total health budget will increase by just 2.9% a year to 2023/24.
Investment in modernising the health service as set out in the NHS long term plan is estimated to require over £5bn.
Campaigners for greater investments say the real challenge is preventing staff shortages.
Adult social care remains of the highest challenge in need of major investment. Increasing numbers of people are unable to access social care, and care providers are at risk of collapse. Councils say they don’t have enough funding to support the high demand of catering for adequate adult social care
Commenting on the inquiry, Hunt said:
“Social care is in urgent need of reform, not only to deliver the necessary funding, but to support our crucial social care workforce.
“Never has this been more apparent than during the pandemic, as social care staff work above and beyond to protect our most vulnerable people in a hugely challenging situation, with difficulties compounded by historical problems with funding and workforce – we heard this loud and clear at our most recent evidence session.
“The Committee is therefore today relaunching its inquiry into social care funding and reform, with slightly expanded terms of reference, and plans to begin taking oral evidence in June.”
Indeed, in 2019 the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said that social care in England was “failing financially”.
“This situation has a very real and damaging effect on the day-to-day lives of people who need and provide care,” ADASS added.
Social care is a complex problem and one that most parties have shied away from in their manifestos. Now, however, it can no longer be ignored.
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