Media reports today have suggested the Government may reveal its long-term plans to reform social care in England as early as tomorrow.
Boris Johnson, chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid have been meeting over the weekend to discuss plans, the BBC has reported Government sources as saying.
The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg has said that a deal is ‘close’ but ‘haggling was still going on’ over how to fund the long-awaited changes.
Government leaks indicate it is looking at a controversial rise in national insurance to fund its plan. The Daily Telegraph has reported Downing Street wanted national insurance to rise by 1%, while The Times has suggested Mr Javid wants a 2% rise.
The Department of Health and Social Care is also expected to announce today an extra £5.5bn for the NHS for up until April next year, to help the service cope with the upcoming winter pressures and clear the ‘Covid backlog’.
In June former health secretary Matt Hancock pledged funds to help the health services clear the backlog left by the pandemic but said he could not put a figure on how much that would be, as reported by Nursing in Practice.
An Institute of Fiscal studies report last month suggested NHS waiting lists in England could reach 14m people next autumn and continue to rise because of the backlog from the Covid-19 crisis.
Successive governments have been aware of the need to fund a long-term sustainable plan for social care and Mr Johnson promised to ‘fix’ the issue when he became prime minister in 2019. No plan has yet been released.
Recruitment and retention of staff in social care is one of the major problems: charity Skills for Care figures showed there was a drop of 30% (15,500) nurses working in adult social care between 2012/13 and 2019/20 to 36,000.
Outstanding Manager Network, a group sharing good practice in the sector, warned recently a fifth of care home staff could be lost in England because it will be mandatory for them to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 after 11 November.