A lack of concrete proposals in party manifestos has raised concerns.
A new analysis from The Nuffield Trust has revealed that up to 90,000 social care workers would be needed immediately to meet the manifesto pledges.
The Nuffield Trust says that expanding social care to this group is implicit in both the Labour party’s pledge for free personal care for over 65s and the Conservative party’s principle to “give every person the dignity and security that they deserve”, despite the lack of concrete proposals in the latter’s manifesto.
In a new briefing, the trust identified that around 165,000 over 65s in England need help at home with three or more basic daily activities like getting dressed, washing and eating, but are not currently receiving it from professionals, family or friends.
Researchers took the average number of hours of home care people currently receive and calculated the number of hours a full-time worker would need to deliver care for the 165,000 over 65s currently not receiving care.
A radical overhaul.
Just providing one hour of care a day to this group would require a minimum of 48,000 home care workers, rising to just under 90,000 home care workers for two hours of care a day.
The briefing also says that a radical overhaul of the way social care is funded is needed to protect people against catastrophic costs and provide a sustainable social care system.
The report also argues that politicians must urgently put in place plans to expand and retain the care workforce by drastically improving pay, working conditions and training opportunities to make care work an attractive career.
It also recognises the friends and family who currently care for people. Recommending help for them by promoting policies that support people financially and balancing work with caring for an older or disabled relative.
Time, money, and staff.
Commenting on the briefing, Natasha Curry, Deputy Director of Policy at the Nuffield Trust said: “Despite the extremely disappointing lack of concrete proposals to pay for social care in the Conservative manifesto, it is clear that all parties quite rightly wish to expand the current paltry system.
“Caring for people who are currently struggling with no support will take time, money and – crucially – thousands more home care workers.
“We must be prepared to hire and hold on to much-needed social care workers from home and abroad – and that means being open to so-called ‘low-skilled migration’. Without doing this it will be impossible to expand social care to those who need it.
She added; “Whoever is Prime Minister on 13th December needs to grasp the nettle and put forward clear proposals for funding and staffing social care if thousands of people are not to continue to suffer.”