Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the news that the Government has unveiled a £600 million package to help with recruitment and retention in social care. The fund will support the social care workforce and boost capacity in social care, in turn supporting the NHS ahead of winter and through into next year.
The funding for adult social care includes a £570 million workforce fund over two years, distributed to local authorities, and £30 million funding for local authorities in the most challenged health systems. Worcestershire will be one of the biggest beneficiaries, with nearly £37.5 million to help support adults' and childrens' social care needs in the county. It will help to improve recruitment and retention, boost workforce capacity and ensure a sustainable social care workforce fit for the future. It can be used flexibly based on local need, including to increase the fees given to care providers, which will enable better pay for care workers.
A stronger care system will better meet care needs around the country and support the NHS for future winters, preventing admission to hospital and helping people to be discharged from hospital more quickly, cutting waiting times for A&E and ambulances.
The multi-million-pound investment will deliver tangible improvements to care and support services, benefitting millions working in or supported by care. It builds on progress the Government has already made on workforce reforms set out in the Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care plan - backed by an initial £250 million - which will enable better recognition of social care as a profession.
Of the £600 million from the Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care plan, £570 million will be given to local authorities as ‘flexible’ funding to allow them to tailor it to benefit local needs. This could be by increasing the fees given to care providers, which will enable better pay for care workers, driving tangible improvements to social care for those who draw on it, or reduce pressures on the health system by increasing the capacity of social care and helping to bolster the sector ahead of winter.
In addition, as part of the government’s initiative to improve care for everyone across the country, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has launched a new £10 million per year funding programme focused on social care research. The Research Programme for Social Care will collect information on the people at the heart of care, providing government and the sector with clear paths on how they can improve, expand and strengthen social care for people in need of care, carers, the social care workforce and the public.
This new programme aligns with the department’s new innovation and improvement unit, which is working with sector partners to establish clear priorities for innovation and research across adult social care.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said:
"Care workers make a life-changing difference to people every day in my constituency. That is why it is vital that we invest in the conditions needed to keep them in the workforce. Today's announcement delivers on that necessity, with a commitment to those already in the profession and others who might be considering caring as a career.
"I am particularly pleased to see that Worcestershire will receive an additional £37.5 million grant from the government for the recruitment and retention of carers in our county."
Minister for Care, Helen Whately said:
“Hundreds of thousands of older people, disabled people and their carers depend day in, day out on our social care workforce. Care workers deserve a brighter spotlight to recognise and support what they do. That’s why we’re reforming social care careers and backing our brilliant care workforce with millions in extra funding.
"Our workforce reforms will help more people pursue rewarding careers in social care with nationally recognised qualifications. Our investment in social care means more funding to go to the front line. This matters, because support for our care workforce is the key to more care and better care.
"A stronger social care system, hand in hand with our NHS, will help people get the care they need, when and where they need it.”