Social care services that support older people are at tipping point. That’s the warning from the Care Quality Commission, which regulates health and social care in England.
Its latest annual report shows that the last four years have seen a 70% rise in the number of patients unable to leave hospital because care is just not available for them.
The news from the CQC coincides with the launch of a UNISON day of action focusing on social care cuts as part of the SOS campaign to “save our local services”.
The union has been raising concerns about the impact of government cuts on social care since austerity measures were forced on local authorities more than five years ago.
Now UNISON is urging members to back a day of action on 16 November to support homecare workers and campaign locally to raise awareness of the cuts’ impact.
The union is also calling on councils to sign up to the Ethical Care Charter, produced as part of our Save Care Now campaign, which commits them to certain minimum standards for care workers’ employment and for the care service they provide.
“Our own upcoming Damage report into the impact of cuts on social care has found a dedicated and caring workforce, which is also exhausted by unfair working conditions, exacerbated by cuts,” says UNISON’s Natalie Ntim. “They are overworked and undervalued.
“Many have serious concerns about the welfare of the vulnerable older people they look after, because cuts are chipping away at the high-quality services that they try their hardest to provide, despite shrinking budgets.
“Social care workers need our help to challenge these cuts.
“As their trade union, we can show our support for the vital work that they do and raise our voices to challenge the government to inject new funding into the social care sector.
Download our briefing about campaigning for SOS Day, what the campaign is asking for and how you can help
“We will also be holding a parliamentary event for MPs to pledge their support for our campaign’s call for more care funding and public investment in services, not costly privatisation exercises.”
What you can do to help the SOS campaign
Get in touch with your local UNISON branch – find out what they are doing for SOS Day on 16 November and what you can do to help.
Write to your MP and ask them to support the SOS campaign by attending our parliamentary event on 16 November at Portcullis House (see our event page for more details). If you work in or use social care services, tell them about your experiences of cuts.
You can find out who your MP is at www.theyworkforyou.org.uk.