The squeeze on local authority budgets is hindering the progress and effectiveness of integration efforts, the Public Accounts Committee cautioned, recommending that a fully-costed 10-year plan for social care should be drawn up to parallel the one already established for the NHS.
Chair of the Committee, Meg Hillier, warned that a lack of investment and respect for staff working in social care was a key part of disinvestment in the industry.
“There remains a wide gap in pay and career structure between people who work in the NHS and those in social care, whose workforce suffers from low pay and low esteem,” she commented.
“As I have said previously, social care is skilled work that transforms people’s lives. It could and should be a source of national pride.
“It is vital that the government’s workforce plan addresses these concerns as a positive step towards achieving its aim of integrating health and social care.”
She described it as “unacceptable” that the sector had “suffered long-term underfunding”, faced with an ageing population which creates greater demand for social care services, and “under considerable financial pressure” as a result of the government’s austerity measures.