Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition We would like the government to consider social care as equally important to NHS

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

More details

Practically, there is parity of position between health and social care: Social care employs more people than health, is intrinsically community based and supports a large number of the population. However, there is a significant lack of parity of esteem between the two. The government’s recent early response to the COVID-19 and the March 2020 budget was exemplary of this lack of parity. This includes the pay and rewards of staff, professionalisation, funding, training and political discourse.

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Government responded

This response was given on 20 April 2020

Social care provides vital support. We are providing councils with additional funding and supporting the workforce in responding to COVID-19 and will bring forward a plan for social care this year.

We know that social care will be at the frontline of our response to COVID-19 with social care providers looking after many of the most vulnerable in society.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the NHS and social care system have the resources they need.

COVID-19 presents one of the most significant challenges our society has faced. The disease disproportionality affects those who are most vulnerable, and adult social care services are critical to the nation’s response.

We look to local authorities to continue to work with the health sector to ensure people are cared for in the most appropriate setting.

On 19 March, the Government announced that £1.3bn would be made available to the NHS to cover care costs for those being discharged from hospital under new enhanced discharge arrangements.
A further £1.6bn has been provided to councils to support the local response to COVID-19, of which we think the majority will need to be spent supporting social care services. This funding is being kept under review. The COVID-19 funding is in addition to the £1.5billion that councils have access to for adults and children’s social care in 2020-21, announced in the last Spending Review.

This includes an additional £1bn of grant funding for adults and children’s social care, and a proposed 2% precept that will enable councils to access a further £500 million for adult social care.
This £1.5 billion is on top of maintaining £2.5bn of existing social care grants and will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.
Future funding for social care will be set out at the next spending review.
Local authorities are responsible for commissioning social care services as they are best placed to understand and plan for the care needs of their populations, and to develop and build local market capacity. That is why under the Care Act 2014, local authorities are required to shape their local markets, and ensure that people have a range of high-quality, sustainable and person-centred care and support options available to them, and that they can access the services that best meet their needs.
In terms of the social care workforce, the Department is working closely with its delivery partner Skills for Care (SfC), to deliver structured support as the workforce adapts to the demands Covid-19 will pose to providers of our vital adult social care services. By mobilising SfC at the earliest opportunity we hope this will help assure the sector that DHSC is committed not only to supporting them respond to Covid-19, to recognise the contribution made by employees across this sector and also to continuing its ongoing commitments to helping train, develop and recruit a strong workforce for the future development of the sector.

We are working with SfC to see how their strategic work programme can support local authorities and employers' response to covid-19 through enhanced training and resource, we have already made good progress on identifying the requirements for the sector and e-learning modules have been developed by their Endorsed Training Providers and are now available.

We are supporting the Local Authority workforce through enabling temporary registration of social workers who have left the profession within 2 years – sent out a letter from Social Work England to 8200 retired social workers.

We recognise that during this time those working in the care sector will be feeling more anxious and under pressure. They will also feel a sense of duty to continue to provide a high-quality service for the people they care for. It is critical that the health and wellbeing of our caring sector is protected and we are working to ensure this happens.

We know that people who work in social care are providing a brilliant service, under difficult circumstances, and that being able to identify themselves as key workers, as well as receiving public support and recognition are really important. We know that care workers, as much as NHS staff, should benefit from priority access to supermarket shopping hours, and where they are not already, we are encouraging this to happen.

Putting social care on a sustainable footing, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society.

As the Prime Minister said, this government will deliver on its promises: we will bring forward a plan for social care this year.

There are complex questions to address, which is why we have invited all MPs and Peers to voice their views, solutions and concerns about reforming the way that people pay for their care. We are currently considering how to best to take forward these cross-party talks in light of Government guidance on COVID-19.

Department of Health and Social Care

At 100,000 signatures...

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Other parliamentary business

MPs investigate social care funding and workforce

A group of MPs call the Health and Social Care Committee are holding an inquiry into social care funding and workforce. They are seeking to establish how much extra money the Government would need to spend to counteract the impact of a shortage of care on the NHS. The inquiry will also consider shortages in the social care workforce and possible solutions.

The inquiry is currently paused, but the committee is still accepting written evidence.
You can read more about the inquiry or submit written evidence to the committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/136/social-care-funding-and-workforce/

What is the Health and Social Care Committee?

The Health and Social Care Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters relating to public health and social care. It's a cross-party committee of MPs and is independent of the Government.

You can find out more about the Health and Social Care Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/81/health-and-social-care-committee/

You can follow the Health and Social Care Committee on Twitter: @CommonsHealth

The Health and Social Care Committee is a ‘select committee’.
Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Further Information

You may also be interested to know that because of the large number of petitions that have been started in relation to coronavirus, the Petitions Committee has been questioning the Government about its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more and watch the Committee put questions suggested by petitioners to Government Ministers and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/145767/committee-question-deputy-chief-medical-officer-and-ministers-on-coronavirus-response/

Read letters from the Committee asking further questions of Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/

Visit our website to find news and information on other activity in relation to coronavirus and other issues: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

You can read impartial analysis of the Government response to coronavirus and policy developments here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus

Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:

  • How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
  • What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
  • What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
  • What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
  • What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
  • Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?

Watch the session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aPLXJcZEfi8

Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.

Read our letters to different Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/

Some of the questions we’ve asked include:

  • When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
  • What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
  • How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
  • What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
  • How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
  • What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
  • Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?

We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.

Who are we?

We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information

You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips

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