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Who Is Going To Solve The Social Care Crisis?
With Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing that the long-awaited social care Green Paper will be revealed “later this year”, we take a look at a possible solution to the crisis in the form of a voucher scheme to pay for care. We also find out what finance specialists think is in store for the NHS over winter...
An adult social care vouchers scheme has been put forward by John Woodward OBE, president and founder of the Busy Bees Group, to help solve the social care crisis in the UK. Both Mr Woodward and the organisation were instrumental in lobbying the government to launch the Childcare Voucher scheme in 2005. Here, John explains how the voucher scheme could work for adults needing care...
For disabled people living in their own homes or in residential care, how is the cost of social care currently being met?
In short, the cost of social care isn’t even close to being met. The current state funding in care is £490 per week per adult, which is more than £100 per week below the actual cost of a basic level of care.
To cover the difference, private self-funded patient costs are being inflated, effectively meaning privately funded adults are paying an additional tax on their own care to accommodate for the gap in state funding for others.
Is the social care which disabled adults currently receive adequate?
In 2017 the Care Quality Commission gave a third of care homes an “inadequate” or “requires improvement” rating. Disabled adults in our community need and deserve top quality care, but in the current funding crisis these people are being forgotten. When my own mum need care in a home it made me realise what a burden it is for the vast majority of people.
Why did you put forward the proposal for social care vouchers to the Treasury?
I am really passionate about adult social care and having seen the success of childcare vouchers I immediately saw vouchers as a way to help bridge the funding gap, give families more flexibility, and improve care provisions. I took it to the Treasury for maximum impact and gained the support of House of Lords and House of Commons members.
What could the vouchers be spent on?
The vouchers would be used to assist with funding residential and domestic care. People in need of domestic or residential care for mental health reasons would qualify as disabled and would therefore be eligible to use vouchers to fund their care. For example, my sister runs a home for people with learning disabilities. The vouchers wouldn’t cover everything, but it would certainly help a lot.
Could working people buy their own vouchers?
The scheme works via salary sacrifice, so working adults can set aside a capped amount each month for adult social care vouchers that could then be used for their or a family member’s present or future care.