Partners need to pull together to help secure the social care sector’s financial sustainability, according to council leaders in Wales.
Soaring demand and extra costs over a number of years have put social care services under enormous strain. The current coronavirus crisis has brought those pressures into sharp focus, as services have seen a rapid spike in demand and added costs.
Councillor Huw David (Bridgend), Spokesperson for Health and Social Care said:
“There is little doubt that social care services have faced and will continue to face enormous challenges over the coming years with increasing demand and expectations. Councils have consistently pressed for the need to ensure the financial sustainability of our vital social care services. We recognise that there are challenges across our system, which is why councils’ calls for support have been for the entire sector, including those in the private sector who deliver commissioned services on behalf of local authorities. It is only by working constructively in partnership across the sector, rather than playing one off against the other, that we can ensure that all those providing important services are supported and protected in the same way.”
“We all know how fragile the care sector is. Whilst austerity has had and continues to have a significant impact, we also need to consider the way in which our system operates. Research has shown the significant profits that some care home operators are making across the UK, with hundreds of millions of pounds going to offshore investors. Many of the firms that provide most of the UK’s 465,000 care home beds are owned or backed by hedge funds, while some of the biggest are based in overseas tax havens. The financial information relating to some of the larger for-profit chains is almost entirely hidden from view. This makes it almost impossible to account for where public money ends up.”
“There is a need to look at how our care home sector is structured to ensure transparency over profitability and costs, and to address fragility in the sector where needed. Councils continue to call on Welsh Government for increased and sustainable funding for social care, for meeting both increased demand for services and to ensure our workforce are more fairly paid, working with all partners in delivering the best for the citizens in our care.”