Since 2017 the government has promised reform of social care with its plans to be set out in a ‘green paper’. But it is still delayed.

A vital system that has the potential to change the lives of so many disabled people just isn’t getting the attention it deserves. So we have published a policy position statement, shaped by people we support, with ten recommendations for reforms.

The huge pressures on social care are well known, but often the debate focuses on older people’s care or the knock on effects on the NHS.

What is less well known is that around half of all council adult social care budgets are spent on people with learning disabilities, and at the time of writing there is an estimated shortfall of at least £1 billion in funding for learning disability services alone. With an estimated 108,000 people with more severe learning disabilities missing out on care and support entirely, often relying on family and friends instead, and over 2,000 people with learning disabilities and/or autism in assessment and treatment inpatient units (ATUs), often far from home, it is clear that this state of affairs cannot go on. As our colleague, Scott Watkin BEM, blogs ‘enough is enough’.

As part of our recommendations for reform, we’re calling for a social care system that puts human rights, inclusion and equality at its heart, stops people from reaching crisis point and is integrated and coordinated around the person and their family. This includes raising awareness of the vision problems people with learning disabilities can have, so there is better support, and ensuring that hospitals do not become homes for people with learning disabilities and/or autism because community support has failed them.

We want to see social care given the same level of importance as the NHS. That means having a long term plan that independently addresses the funding needs of adult social care. We want to see a way of raising and ring-fencing money for social care nationally, through tax or national insurance, rather than solutions that rely on more means testing of people or through local and piecemeal council tax rises.

And last but not least, the social care workforce must be given the same status, value and priority as the NHS workforce, so social care is seen as the skilled, rewarding and varied career that it can be. This means addressing the difference in pay in the NHS and care sectors through appropriate funding and government policy, and a robust social care workforce strategy.

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