Social care funding in England

The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that only half of the funding originally committed towards social care workforce investment will be made available - £250m. In December 2021, the UK Government published a white paper on adult social care in which there was a commitment to invest “at least £500m over the next three years to begin to transform the way we support the social care workforce”.

Local authority leaders in England have warned that the decision means frail and vulnerable people will go without the care they need.

Commenting, Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said:

This announcement is deeply disappointing, as we need more investment in our social care workforce, not less. The impact of a stretched workforce is clear to see in social care settings not just in England, but right across the UK.

And there’s a knock-on impact, too, on our hospitals. One of the greatest barriers to patient flow and timely discharge from hospital is the lack of staffed social care beds in the community, and the lack of care packages available for people to return home – or to another appropriate care setting.

Only by resolving the problems at the “back door” of our hospitals can we start to tackle the problems at the “front door”. As the average age of the population continues to increase, it is absolutely vital that there are not only enough healthcare professionals to look after us, but also enough well-trained and well-supported social care workers. We are calling on government in all four corners of the UK to invest in our social care workforce, to support them in their roles, and to value them on pay and other conditions.