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Sector News 2017

The Queens' speech that plans for the 'dementia tax' seems to have been dropped. It was suggested that as a way of clawing back some of the overspend from the rising care costs, the cap currently in place would be dropped and those receiving a higher level of care (i.e. those with dementia) would have to pay for their care out of the value of their home, the Alzheimer's society ran a petition against this and gained over 28,000 signatures.

Changes to the means testing process have also been announced but will be postponed until 2020. The means test is where a persons' assets and finances are assessed to see how much that person should fund towards their care costs.

In a report (31 August 2017), Independent Age has revealed that nine out of ten MPs in England agree the current social care system is not adequate for the UK’s ageing population. The survey, drawn from the responses of 101 England MPs this summer, also found that 86% agreed a cross-party consensus is needed for a lasting settlement on health and social care. The news comes as Government considers the next steps for further consultation on social care funding and sustainability, mentioned in the Queen’s Speech and the Conservative Party’s 2017 election manifesto.

Sleep in legislation: There has been a lot of press recently about the rate of pay for sleeping nights. Some providers charge around £30 per night and pay their workers £15 a night. The argument being that they are being paid to sleep. The government have not provided any additional funds to cover the short fall between what is being paid by some providers and the new living wage. It has been announced this month that MENCAP - one of the large learning disability charities may have to pull out from offering overnight support unless more funds are raised. There are concerns that other companies may also be forced to cut back their night services if additional funds are not found. MENCAP have launched a campaign. #StopSleepInCrisis.

Autumn Budget speech declares living wage will increase by 4.4% in 2018 ensuring a better wage for those working in the care industry which is renowned for low pay.

Federation of Small Businesses have conducted a study on the impact of the living wage increases, they found that staff workload is increasing due to businesses hiring fewer employees (to recoup extra financial outlay and remain profitable). They predict an increase in cases of absenteeism due to work related stress to result.

British Geriatrics Society (23rd November 2017) state that the new budget fails to address the lack of funding in social care resulting in 'medically fit' older patients being stranded in hospital rather than being able to return home.

Agencies across Nottinghamshire are struggling with capacity to take on new clients due to staff shortages, it is anticipated that bed blocking will be a concern over this festive period.

A poll carried out by Carers UK discovered that 51% of people 'don't know' a single relative or friend who cares for a loved one. This is despite 1 in 10 people being carers. This was announced on 24th December this year to raise awareness of informal carers at home for 'Carers Rights Day'

The Social Care Sector is in challenging times in terms of staff recruitment and retention. According to an article published in the guardian before Christmas, there is a need for recognition amongst staff working in the social care sector, and the need for methods to be implemented to assist their work- life balance. It was found in a study that 58% of 16 to 75 year olds supported a rise in taxes to increase the social care budget.

The wait for homecare provision is growing according to an article featured on the BBC website. The longest wait recorded was 11 months, causing bed blocking in hospitals and increasing the costs to the social care sector. A care worker in Wales commented that 37 house calls in a 17 hour shift were not unusual due to the shortage of care staff working at her company.

Below are the NHS Domiciliary care bulletins for this year: