Hewitt charm offensive hints at higher pay and more funding for sector

The Department of Health has given its strongest statement yet of the need to increase social care funding, particularly on salaries, in the 2007 government spending review.

It came as part of a charm offensive by the department at last week’s National Social Services Conference, where social care leaders were also promised that the sector would not be marginalised in the forthcoming joint white paper with health.

Both health secretary Patricia Hewitt and the national director for social care, Kathryn Hudson, said the department had heard “loud and clear” the many concerns about funding and pay in responses to the adult green paper.

And in his foreword to last week’s publication analysing green paper responses, care services minister Liam Byrne said they provided “invaluable Patricia Hewittevidence to inform our work for the next spending review”.

He cited concerns about pressures on existing budgets, the costs of an increasingly ageing population, the price of shifting resources into preventive care and the impact of pay on recruitment and retention.

The new president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, Julie Jones, vowed to press the government to increase investment in adult and children’s services. She said the ADSS should lobby for investment in preventive care as this would cut future demand for intensive services.

Hewitt said the issue of pay would be included in the spending review as “not enough” had been done to increase wages for social care staff.

She suggested staff could receive an Agenda for Change-style package – in reference to the programme delivering better pay and improved career opportunities for NHS staff.

Hewitt said social care would not be “swamped” by the NHS in the white paper and that the document was “the best chance for a generation to make social care the major player” in government programmes to improve well-being.

Hudson also sought to reassure social care leaders on this point, promising that the policy team who wrote the green paper were involved, alongside NHS civil servants, in writing the white paper.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.