Wasted decade for care homes as daming report shows staffing shortage doubled

Boris Johnson has been urged to fulfil his promise and fix social care “once and for all” as a damning report shows how the system is failing.

On the 10-year anniversary since the landmark Dilnot report laid out a plan to provide fair care for our elderly data indicates staffing vacancies have almost doubled.

Many more people are needing care and fewer are getting it while thousands more are forced to hand over their life savings to fund a place in a care home.

An alliance of 76 charities behind the report is demanding Mr Johnson fulfil the pledge he made last July in his first speech as Prime Minister.

Caroline Abrahams, co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance and director of Age UK, said: “This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Dilnot Commission’s report and it’s galling to think what a wasted decade this has been for social care here, when so many other countries have put their social care provision on a firm financial basis and brought it up to date.

“In many respects social care has got worse here over these ten years and the huge rise in staff vacancies is a big part of the reason why, since it is impossible to deliver consistently decent, reliable care if there aren’t enough care workers to do the job.”

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The Mirror is campaigning for Fair Care for All
The Mirror is campaigning for Fair Care for All

“Now we are starting to emerge from the pandemic, which has taken such a toll in social care, it’s time for the Prime Minister to stand by his word and for politicians in all parties to demonstrate leadership on an issue which should be above politics.”

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Polling by the alliance shows 83% of Brits want the PM to fulfil his pledge and it is calling on the general public to write to their MP demanding action.

Over three General Elections every major political party has pledged to reform and fully fund social care.

At the same time the charities warn that demand for care has increased with 1.7 million more people over-65s and 857,000 more adults with disabilities.

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Since 2012/13, the earliest year for which comparable data are available, care workforce vacancies have shot up by 82% – 45,000 extra empty posts.

Previous estimates suggest since Mr Johnson’s promise was made well over 10,000 elderly people have lost almost all the money they have saved during their life.

The Alzheimer’s Society says unpaid carers have spent an extra 92 million hours looking after loved ones with dementia since lockdown.

Under England’s current broken care system, pensioners have to pay the full cost of their care down to their last £23,250.

This includes the value of their property, meaning thousands of parents are unable to pass on the family home to their children.

An average of 15 people a day see their savings wiped out after being landed with sky-high bills for their care, an analysis by Age UK found.

The Local Government Association on Wednesday demanded social care reform plans be brought forward in the next fortnight, before Parliament rises for the summer.

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David Fothergill, LGA wellbeing chair, said: “We also face a huge recruitment and retention crisis in the care workforce, with more than 100,000 vacancies and action urgently needed on pay, conditions, professionalisation, skills and training.”


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