£500 million to develop the adult social care workforce

The government has announced that at least £500 million from the Health and Social Care Levy is to be spent on improving recruitment, retention, progression, and staff wellbeing for adult social care workers in England.

The levy, which came into force today, will generate £36 billion over the next three years for the health and social care system. Only £5.4 billion of this total is dedicated to adult social care.

The government said the social care funding will be used to “attract new staff into the sector and support those already in it by providing significant investment in individual learning and development and supporting staff mental health and wellbeing”.

Minister of state for care and mental health Gillian Keegan said: I am incredibly proud of all the social care staff who have worked so hard, particularly during the pandemic. As we recover from Covid-19, we must look to the future and to reform – this £500 million package of support will boost workforce recruitment, allow staff to progress in their careers in the sector and very importantly, ensure staff wellbeing is better supported.”

The government issue a list yesterday of where it is pointing the social care funding:

  • A knowledge and skills framework, career pathways and linked investment for learning and development to support progression for care workers and registered managers
  • Funding for care certificates, alongside significant work to create a delivery standard recognised across the sector to improve transferability across settings, so care workers do not need to repeat the care certificate when moving roles
  • Continuous professional development budgets for registered nurses, nursing associates, occupational therapists and other allied health professionals
  • Investment in social worker training
  • Initiatives to provide wellbeing and mental health support and to improve access to occupational health to support staff resilience and recovery following their role in the pandemic
  • A new digital hub for the workforce to access support, information and advice, and a portable record of learning and development
  • New policies to identify and support best recruitment practices locally
  • Exploration of new national and local policies to ensure consistent implementation of the above, as well as higher standards of employment and care provided.

Most of the levy is to be spent on the NHS, because the number of people waiting for elective care in England now stands bat six million, up from 4.4 million before the pandemic and expected to rise, as up to 10 million people did not come forward for treatment during the pandemic.

Five local authorities in England have been selected to implement a new adult social care charging reform system which caps the cost of care: Wolverhampton, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Newham, North Yorkshire, which will put the charging reform plans in place next January ahead of a national rollout in October next year.

Date published: April 6, 2022

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