CEO comment on PMQ’s
Mark Adams, Chief Executive Officer of Community Integrated Care says:
“When I spoke out yesterday, it was out of a genuine sense of frustration at having seen the colleagues in our charity, the people we support and the wider care sector endure months of an inadequate, incomplete and ill-throughout government response to this crisis. To hear the Prime Minister say that the death toll in care homes may have been due to home’s not following prescribed processes was galling. It lacked nuance, self-reflection and accountability, and ultimately hurt a lot of people.
In Prime Minister’s Questions today, he declined to offer an apology for his remarks. Whilst I imagine millions would have welcomed these words, clearly the care sector is looking for actions and not gestures.
We welcomed hearing the Prime Minister state a commitment to developing a cross-party solution to fund and reform the sector properly. If he can make this statement a reality, he will achieve one of the most important political actions in decades. If this is simply rhetoric, he will join consecutive governments that have promised action only to let down the millions of people who depend upon the social care sector with empty words.
Importantly, the Prime Minister did clarify that the ultimate accountability for the national handling of this crisis lies with him. In this spirit, I would like to warn him that these are critical times for the care sector and there is still much to do. I would urge him and his government to listen to and work with the care sector on meeting these challenges ahead.
Many providers are on a financial cliff-edge. Our charity alone has faced an unbudgeted hit of £2.2m, meeting the costs of doing everything possible to protect and support our people. Weekly testing for care homes has finally arrived and is welcome, but there remains 850,000 people in domestic supported living services who need this same support. The coordination and focus of the response to Coronavirus in the care sector has much room for improvement, and providers are willing to assist him and his government on guiding this.
Finally, the Prime Minister stated that the increase in Living Wage would be of comfort to many in the care sector. Sadly, I suspect it will just compound further disappointment and distress. The persistent restrictions on social care funding means that most care contracts can only be fulfilled with a minimum wage workforce. These increases simply expand the gap between care sector wages and other sectors. This will only be resolved by fair and sustainable funding for social care.
It should be a matter of national shame that we have frontline carers working on the frontlines of this pandemic on minimum wage incomes and without the safety net of meaningful pay. I would implore the Prime Minister to recognise this fact, both as a moral and a social issue, and make this a priority for his government.”