Short-term approach is holding back tech and innovation in social care

Social care reforms must not ignore fragile state of the provider market says report 

19th April 2021 about a 2 minute read

A new report from the Nuffield Trust has warned that reform of the social care sector will fail if the plans focus solely on funding.

The think tank urges government to publish it’s long-promised reforms as a matter of urgency. And the blue-print must include both a vision for the whole system, and a clear strategy for achieving that vision. 

The report highlights a lack of clarity over responsibility, and says that splitting decision-making between local government and several central government departments has caused confusion.

Fractured and forgotten? The social care provider market in England warns that the risk of collapse of large private equity-backed providers remains “a constant threat” to stability and continuity of care. 

It also notes that the CQC does not have the powers to intervene and prevent financial collapse.

Other concerns raised in the report include the poor data on who receives and provides care.

And it notes how the substantial real-terms cuts to council budgets have led to social care providers being paid fees below a sustainable rate.

The report says that a short-term approach has led to a limited spread of technology adoption and innovation compared to the health sector 

The authors also highlight workforce issues saying they are “severe” and “weigh down” the sector.

The Nuffield Trust calls for action to be taken to strengthen the voice of service users, and more focus on supporting innovative care models so they can develop and spread.

The organisation says that Covid-19 has focused minds on the social care system’s deficiencies and prompted renewed calls for comprehensive reform.

The report concludes with 10 priorities for policy-makers to consider as they develop the social care proposals that have been promised for later this year.

A copy of the report is available here  

Further reading

  • Future Care Capital’s 2019 report Data That Cares highlighted structural changes to the residential care home market in England and gaps in understanding about the quality of provision. 
  •  Senior Research Officer Dr. Josefine Magnusson wrote a blog based on a Freedom of Information request sent to 152 councils with adult social services responsibilities. It focused on standard pay rates, average weekly fees and the discrepancy between different types of service packages across England. See here for more



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