Next weekend the clocks change and time leaps forward.
It feels like time is leaping forward for the future of social care, the clock is running down to find a sustainable funding solution for support for thousands of people up and down the country.
Social care is important.
No one disagrees with that statement. Everyone pays hardworking care workers lip service yet the Government has yet to set out how it will ensure they receive the pay they deserve.
We need more than lip service. We need proper funding.
After more than 30 years working in the care sector and more than two years working with (and warning) the Government to resolve the coming crisis in funding, resulting from a failure to understand the need to properly fund payments for sleep-in shifts. I’m worried that the pace of progress is woefully slow.
A crisis is coming and yet the Government is resolutely pretending not to hear. The funding crisis that will result from sleep-in back pay will hit before Christmas 2018, 280 days and counting.
Providers are grappling with budgets for the coming financial year and starting conversations with auditors about how to account for the, as yet, unfunded liabilities we know that will hit us very soon.
The implications are not looking great. We’ll need to reduce the services we offer and investment in new development is being slashed
In some places, social care providers will stop offering services or close all together. We’ve seen this already in Blackpool.
People who rely on care services will suffer through having their services disrupted, reduced and in extreme cases potentially closed altogether. Care workers are being left in uncertainty as to when they will finally receive the back pay to which they are entitled.
The Government has made some strong promises to social care staff about ensuring that they receive their back pay, they should now back this up with an equally strong promise to fund these payments.
Government stepping up and committing to fund the estimated £400 million they owe means the under-funded care sector won’t be facing a funding crisis. It means local authorities who have struggled through eight years of austerity won’t have to suddenly find a way to ensure that critical services are maintained. It means our NHS won’t have to take on the additional burdens and it means care workers are guaranteed their back pay.
The clock is ticking.