Campaigners are calling for a legal pledge to give care of older and vulnerable people the same legal commitment Government is set to give the NHS.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) has welcomed the Conservatives saying they will make a legally-binding £34bn spending commitment to the NHS. But it says a similar legal pledge on care is vital if the 1.5m people currently living with an unmet care need are to get help.
The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham said, 'Boris Johnson promising to raise spending on the NHS by almost £34bn by 2023-24 is an excellent commitment, especially as he plans to make it a legally-binding commitment, in the Queen’s Speech.
'But unless he is prepared to make a similar, legally-binding commitment to social care too, he will undermine whatever is promised for the NHS.'
The ICG argues that failing to properly fund social care puts added burden on NHS services and undoes the benefits achieved by pumping more cash into the NHS.
'This is a new Government, with a clear majority and now we need to see it turn its attention to domestic issues like social care and give us some strong commitments to deliver on the pre-election pledges,' Mr Padgham added.
'We really want to see some proper proposals for social care in the Queen’s Speech and not just the vague promises we have heard recently.
'Almost £8bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2010-11 and the new government must act now to reverse that decline.'
Before the election, the ICG issued its own social care manifesto calling for firm pledges to tackle social care and commit to investing more in the sector. It called for the next government to get more money into social care to halt the crisis.
The organisation wants a guarantee that people receiving publicly-funded care can receive it in their own home or close to where they live so that they remain in their own, familiar, communities.
The ICG also called for better funding of social care, through taxation or National Insurance and for social care and NHS care to be merged and managed centrally or locally.
The ICG's manifesto suggested that a fixed percentage of GDP should be spent on social care, that dementia should be regarded as a health issue, like cancer or heart disease, that there should be a cap on social care costs, including ‘hotel’ charges and that people should be encouraged to save for their own care, as they do for a pension.
It also called for measures to improve the standing of care staff to improve recruitment, including a minimum wage for social care workers, above the National Living Wage and more nurse training and bursaries to encourage recruitment and help end the shortage of nurses in care.
The ICG also wants to see a minimum, agreed level of care fees, social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT so that they can claim it back, as other business sectors do, and the Care Quality Commission to have much greater powers to oversee all commissioning practices such as per minute billing and 15-minute visits.