Commenting on the government’s social care white paper, Surrey County Council leader Cllr Tim Oliver said: “We are pleased that government has announced more detail on their proposals for social care. The extra investment for assisted living is welcome, as is the £150 million for new technology and digitisation, aimed at helping people live at home for longer.
“Surrey County Council is taking a lead on this, already planning extra care housing and supported living accommodation in the community and rolling out new home monitoring sensors to flag early signs of declining health or mobility. Early intervention and even prevention is much more likely to lead to the most positive outcomes and help people live the lives they want to lead.
“In addition, the detail of how money previously announced can be used by councils, while welcome, will not go far enough to address the short-term pressures we face or close the longer-term funding gap we are having to deal with. We are likely to be facing tough decisions in the months ahead as we set our budgets for the next year and seek to meet our obligations to residents.
“Finally, there is still a lot of outstanding detail that we are waiting for, in particular, how we can ensure self-funders can access fairer prices of care without placing unsustainable financial pressures on councils and providers. We look forward to working with government on the detail of how this will be implemented, alongside further details in the integration white paper on measures which will enable health and social care to work together to deliver on ambitions set out in this paper.”
Cllr Sinead Mooney, SCC’s cabinet portfolio holder for adults and health added: “It is also very disappointing to see that the white paper contains so little aimed at supporting and growing the workforce through training opportunities, a defined career path and higher wages in the short-term. This is a fundamental part of the conversation, as without efforts to attract and retain good staff to carry out the highly skilled personal care and support roles, all other efforts to reform are meaningless.”