Adult social care was one of the issues of concern that Dr Kate O’Kelly, our West Sussex county councillor, spoke about at a recent meeting of Midhurst Town Council.
As a trustee of Whitmore Vale Housing association which provides services, both residential and supported living, for adults with learning disabilities I share her concern.
Recent changes in government interpretation of National Minimum wage law which has to do with ‘sleep in overnight care’ has resulted in a huge pay liability on the part of providers, due to Government failure to fund.
This together with the possibility of overtime being factored in to rates of pay for staff during annual leave without increase in funding puts learning disability care whether ‘supported living’ or residential at risk.
The Care Quality Commission are rightly seeking to increase standards of care but in a recent report recognise ‘Care providers are under pressure and staff resilience is not inexhaustible’. While councils have recently agreed to an increase of staff salaries above the one per cent of recent years the same cannot be said of increasing the fees paid to providers of services.
Without increased resources staff cannot be rewarded for the hugely demanding and essential work they do.
Lack of funding puts enormous pressure on staff retention and recruitment.
The funding of social care has to be high up on a decent society’s list of priorities.
The ‘learning disability’ sector of adult social care though largely unseen is a vital element in providing help for the most vulnerable to live as independent and as full a lives as possible.