Hundreds of social care workers, providers and those who draw on social care lobbied parliament this week (Wednesday) to tackle the recruitment and retention emergency in social care provision.

The cross-party, cross-sector Future Social Care Coalition (FSCC) aims to highlight the lack of capacity in the social care system and the fact that, even before the pandemic and the cost of living crisis hit, there were circa 110,000 vacancies in social care. 

It says that now the gap is even deeper and social care is definitely not fixed or 'done' despite government promises, the Adult Social Care White Paper and reforms in the Build Back Better Plan.

The FSCC has called on the government and new Health and Social Care Secretary, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, to take urgent action and commit to the key asks set out on the FSCC pledge card.  

These include:

  • Parity of esteem for the social care sector with the NHS: if social care is to improve and increase health and wellbeing outcomes, the social care service must no longer be treated as the ‘forgotten frontline’
  • A comprehensive social care workforce strategy designed to improve skills, training and professionalism, and improve pay and conditions for social care workers
  • A substantial and immediate funding boost for social care and, in the longer term, a social care funding solution that is both equitable and sustainable.

Social care workers are the forgotten frontline

Rt Hon Alistair Burt, Co-Chair and former social care minister, said: “The Social Care Lobby Day is our opportunity to shout out for social care reform. This is needed more than ever before. There were extensive staff shortages across the social care workforce before the pandemic and now we are seeing more people leaving the profession due to post-pandemic pressures and the cost-of-living crisis, this can’t continue.”  

Phil Hope, Co-Chair and former care minister, added: “Social care workers – the forgotten frontline - worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic with little recognition.

“It is simply not good enough that those who care for those who need care are not properly recognised and rewarded. The Government urgently needs to act. Too many are leaving the care system because they simply cannot afford to live.”