‘Act rather than criticising social care’, health bosses told

Care providers are calling on health and social care secretary Sajid Javid to stop criticising care workers and start tackling the crisis in the sector.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) said it is angry after Mr Javid said those working in care should ‘go and get another job’ if they didn’t want to have the Covid-19 vaccine.

ICG chair Mike Padgham said: ‘I feel Mr Javid should seriously reconsider those remarks.

‘What we are looking for from Mr Javid is solutions to the crisis in social care and not remarks that inflame the situation.

‘I am sure that the health secretary knows the blood, sweat and tears social care workers have shed this past 18 months caring for people on the front-line in the fight against Covid-19.

‘If he wants further evidence then I invite him to visit my care business to see the situation firsthand.

‘What we need to get social care through the current crisis is constructive dialogue and understanding, not confrontation and contempt.’

The ICG said it wants the government to delay the November 11 deadline for carers to have both vaccinations to be allowed to work.

Mr Padgham said: ‘There is no such deadline in the NHS and no such deadline for relatives and family visiting care and nursing homes, so why should carers have this sword of Damocles hanging over them.

‘Even with the vaccine, people can still catch and pass on Covid-19 so the rationale behind the compulsory vaccination is flawed anyway. It is merely being used as a draconian stick to beat the social care sector.

‘At the moment, the sector has 120,000 vacancies and there are predictions that this could increase by a further 40,000 because of compulsory vaccination. “That spells disaster for the care of our oldest and most vulnerable people as we head into the most challenging period, winter.

‘Providers are already falling by the wayside and the historic figure of 1.5m people living without the care they need will by now be much greater and will be growing fast.’

The ICG has called on the government to step in and tackle the crisis in social care like it is doing over petrol and food shortages.

It has warned that a whole raft of challenges is mounting which could push some care providers to the brink of survival just before winter.

These include:

· A staffing crisis exacerbated by mandatory vaccination and Brexit

· Rocketing energy costs for care and nursing homes

· Homecare workers struggling to do visits due to petrol shortages

· Rising insurance premiums following the Covid-19 pandemic

Mr Padgham said: ‘Following Covid-19, the sector is already on its knees and further storm clouds are gathering that could push many providers to the brink, leaving the country short of care when it needs it most.

‘The government thinks it solved the social care problem through the extra funding it announced some weeks ago, but that isn’t the case. The vast bulk of that will go straight to the NHS whilst social care has to wait.

‘Social care and the NHS have to work hand in hand – supporting the NHS without supporting social care is a waste of time. If social care collapses it will pile even greater pressure on the NHS and take that to the bring too.

‘Social care has already been hit hard by the inability to recruit overseas workers following Brexit.

‘Why is the government breaking its policy on overseas workers for one sector and not for social care, which needs help just as urgently?’

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