Nobody could seriously argue that social care is anything other than massively undervalued in this country (except perhaps by those who use the sector?). The social care sector saves the NHS billions of pounds every year and it delivers support to millions of people to help them live more independent and fulfilling lives, as independently as possible, and in many cases so that they can regain employment.
And yet, as the Chief Executive of Care England recently pointed out, care services are still seriously underfunded and care is often seen as the poor relation of the NHS.
In an attempt to move the debate forward from the Government’s Build Back Better plans for social care, Care England recently published ‘10 Key Asks.’ These relate to establishing a fair rate for care, seeking to ensure a sustainable workforce, and to the care levy funded by National Insurance (NI) contributions.
Central to all of this is establishing a fair cost of care that reflects realistic and sustainable costs of meeting an individual’s care needs.
Routing the lion’s share of social care levy funding into the health service for the first three years is self-defeating. Spending that money in the care sector would arguably have a far bigger long-term impact on reducing pressures in an overloaded health service. Leaving the care sector underfunded is surely just going to mean more people needing hospital care that could have been avoided.
It’s also perverse that hard-pressed care providers and underpaid care workers are being asked to foot the bill through increased NI payments.
Innovation and Digital Transformation
Another interesting aspect of the document is that it highlights how innovation, investment and digital transformation have been neglected within the sector. However, here there could be some good news.
Care brokerage is a critical component of the care ecosystem. Efficient brokerage ensures that more people receive the right care, in the right setting, within the shortest possible time. It’s an area ripe for innovation and digital transformation – particularly where the current process still relies on spreadsheets, emails and phone calls.
The eBrokerage by UDMS solution is a cloud-based platform where a range of care services can be brokered efficiently and securely. The secure marketplace doesn’t rely on emails, phone calls and spreadsheets.
We also know that the time saved by brokerage teams that have implemented the solution usually makes it self-funding. Investment shouldn’t be an issue.
Implementation is also rapid. The highly flexible eBrokerage by UDMS solution can be up and running within a few weeks and is easy to procure through the G-Cloud 12 framework, via Ulysses eBrokerage Cloud Software.