The UK is facing a “now or never” moment to fix the social care system, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned.
There has been frustration at the sector’s lack of reforms, which were promised almost two years ago by Boris Johnson on his election to Downing Street.
Mr Hunt told The Times: “The definition of a civilised society is one where you look after your older citizens with dignity and respect.
“And we don’t do that — the pandemic has exposed the fragility of the social care system.
“If we’re not going to fix it now we never will.”
Mr Hunt was speaking two days after he joined five other former health and social care ministers in backing proposals to reform the social care workforce in the absence of the Government’s long-awaited plans.
The Future Social Care Coalition (FSCC) put forward a social care people plan framework supported by 24 individuals and organisations including employers, trade unions and care alliances.
It has cross-party support from six former ministers, including former Labour health secretary Andy Burnham, the Liberal Democrats’ former community and social care minister Sir Norman Lamb, and Alistair Burt, former community and social care minister for the Conservatives.
Signatories are calling for the Government to take forward a people plan for social care to mirror the NHS people plan, taking into account their 12 recommendations.
These include that the plan should recommend care and support worker pay is increased to the real living wage level and that the Government should consult on a compulsory national register of workers.
It should also include a commitment to a healthy and safe national workforce guaranteed through a binding charter of good practice, they said.