Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has today welcomed the Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund – Workforce Fund.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“The Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund (MSIF) represents a step in the right direction for the social care sector. The first MSIF in 2022 was aimed at increasing social care workforce capacity and retention, reducing social care wait times and increasing fee rates paid to social care providers. We know there was success following the reporting of the initial grant, and so welcome this grant as a further measure to support the social care sector in the same way in a time of extreme hardship but must acknowledge that it will not fix social care.”
The government has today, 28 July 2023, 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 £600 million 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.
To supplement the MSIF announcement, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has also published a letter to colleagues across social care to outline the key steps that are needed so adult social care systems are resilient and able to provide support to those who need it this winter and stating that local authorities should; “work closely with providers to use the £570 million funding to grow workforce capacity, for example, by investing in improved pay for people who work in care.”
The letter also sets out the DHSC’s expectations for how NHS organisations can work with adult social care for the planning and delivery of support. The funding for this will be the £30m left over from the total £600m promised by the DHSC, with the remaining £570 assigned to the MSIF workforce fund.
Martin Green continues:
“Once again, the government require a great deal from a relatively small pot of funding. This fund cannot be relied upon to remedy social care pressures alone. The £570m promised over two years equates to a mere 10p per hour pay rise for the social care workforce. The funding suggests a focus on workforce pay, ensuring appropriate short-term and intermediate care is available to reduce avoidable admissions, supporting discharge of patients from hospital, and making tangible improvements to adult social care capacity. The requirements of the fund are vast. None of this is possible with 10p an hour per member of the care workforce. This is a far cry from the additional £4 per hour needed and will not tackle the sustained shortage of funding from central government to local authorities. Local authorities are currently required to work miracles to support the workforce, increase capacity and pay care providers more. The DHSC also said the funding will work alongside the NHS Long Term Workforce plan to build a stronger overall foundation for the health and social care workforce. There must be recognition that this injection of funding is by no means a substitute for an equivalent long-term plan for social care. The fortunes of the NHS and the adult social care sector are fundamentally intertwined. Without addressing the issues inherently embedded within our sector through additional long-term funding commitments, the ambition to reduce avoidable admissions and support the discharge of patients from hospital, will remain an ambition rather than an actuality. Ahead of winter, we would implore the DHSC to listen to the sector. We do not want to repeat the same issues we encounter year after year during the winter months. This fund should serve as a watershed moment to be ambitious and move towards an integrated system that serves to benefit us all.”