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Reaction To BBC Panorama Programme

Mark Adams, CEO of Community Integrated Care, says:

“The social care sector provides an incredible service to society, with hundreds of thousands of people who have an absolute vocation for care, changing the lives of countless individuals every single day. However, last night’s BBC Panorama documentary highlighted in stark terms the worrying reality of what can happen when poor cultures breed, outdated models of care persist and the moral responsibility of those delivering care fails to be upheld.

For every care provider, it will have highlighted the weight of responsibility placed upon us to ensure that we are absolutely certain of the standards we deliver and the need to remain vigilant to the threat of neglect, mistreatment or poor care. Equally, I hope that it also resonated with leaders in government too, highlighting to them in no uncertain terms the tragic human cost of consecutive parliaments continually ignoring the systematic challenges and threats to our sector.

To deliver a thriving and sustainable social care sector, where people receive the standard of care that we would all expect for ourselves and our loved ones, we need to recruit the right people, with the right values, and to fully support them to thrive. It cannot be right that the persistent restrictions on social care funding means that many people will often be paid significantly more for working in a supermarket or a fast food restaurant, compared to those who have the unenviable personal responsibilities of delivering care. Individuals with the passion, talent and skills to work in care cannot, in many cases, afford to remain in the sector – and so we suffer a constant challenge to recruit.

Institutional care settings have persisted for decades and despite the lessons of Winterbourne View, far too many continue to remain. Thirty-one years ago, Community Integrated Care was founded as part of a movement to pioneer care in the community; it is astonishing that in these three decades we are still trying to unlock these settings. We know that institutional services can constrain a person’s ability to experience life, develop life skills and ultimately thrive, yet they persist – I can only imagine due to a lack of three things: resource, strategy and action.

Our charity recently celebrated its national awards event, celebrating the side of care that we are privileged to see every day and rarely hits the headlines: the inspirational successes of the people who access and deliver social care. At this event, I met a lady who had lived in an institutional hospital for 40 years, before being referred to our charity in 2016. She entered our charity with the full emotional trauma and anxiety of a life spent in isolation – she now lives independently, volunteers, has friends and leads an active social life. It is heart-breaking to consider that thousands of others are deprived of these same life chances.

It is time for the government to stand up and recognise both the human and economic cost of a social care sector at breaking point. Social care affects all of us, but it is nowhere on the political agenda, with yet more delays to the long-awaited Green Paper. If yesterday’s media coverage fails to deliver an impact then surely the ultimately economic cost will – it is well evidenced that a sector deprived of appropriate resource will lead to health inequalities, a burden on the working families providing care, and ultimately an overworked and unsustainable provider. We cannot keep deferring todays problems to tomorrow – today has arrived.

We know that times are tough, we recognise the challenges facing government and see the shifting political landscape. We are not holding a begging bowl out to government, we are offering a hand. Listen to providers like ours: we have the expertise, innovation and models of care to create effective, efficient and life-changing care that can see individuals thrive, whilst also delivering the social and economic impact that is needed in our communities.

In the meantime, Community Integrated Care is committed investing in our workforce, pioneering the modernisation of care services, listening to the voice of the people we support and championing innovation. Whilst we have always held a deep-rooted commitment to providing quality care, the Panorama documentary provided a wake-up call to us all that we can never become complacent.”

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