It’s starting to look as if the additional funding for social care announced in the previous budget was its ‘moment in the sun’ and that events have now moved on to focus once again on the struggles of the NHS, which of course may be particularly acute come winter time. This is unfortunate as at least two of the items from this month’s Pulse speak to serious and, at the current time, unfunded cost pressures within the social care system.
The Competition and Markets Authority final report on the use of care homes identifies that older people are on occasion getting poor value for money and unfair contractual terms, and are subsidising state-funded residents through higher charges. It also finds that the system of residential care itself may be in financial trouble and indeed recent reports on the position of Four Seasons indicate that this is true for some providers.
The HMRC guidance on the Social Care Compliance System in relation to how social care employers may have historically underpaid workers during sleep-in shifts is an example where the government's approach could improve. As it stands, organisations are signing up to voluntarily calculate a six year liability on the basis of poorly structured and misinterpreted guidance, which, unless there is a significant shift on the part of the government, they will simply have to pay.
Elsewhere there is useful learning and guidance on the collaboration needed to deliver better and more effective integration of health and social care in the form of reports from The Health Foundation and new guidance from SCIE on how organisations can measure progress towards better integration.