Unions criticise the ongoing wait for adult social care green paper

Unite says people ‘will continue to suffer’ as a result of its delayed publication

Unite says people ‘will continue to suffer’ as a result of its delayed publication

Picture: Charles Milligan

The Department of Health and Social Care still refuses to confirm a date for the publication of its long-awaited adult social care green paper.

In a speech to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham this week, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said the paper would be published ‘later this year’.

This follows on from Mr Hancock’s predecessor, former health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt, who announced in June that the paper would be published in autumn 2018.

Critical voices

Unions criticised the lack of clarity from the government on its plans for social care.

Unison’s assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: ‘Social care should be a priority for the government, but delay after delay for the green paper suggests it’s anything but.

‘The longer it takes ministers to introduce any meaningful changes, the more that people needing care, and the workforce who dedicatedly provide it, will continue to suffer.’

Cold comfort

Unite national officer Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe echoed this sentiment, arguing that Mr Hancock's speech failed to provide long-term security to the social care sector.

‘The secretary of state’s announcement does not bring assurance or comfort to hundreds of thousands of people who are waiting for social care provision, or thousands of social care workers who are locked into a labour market beset by low wages, few opportunities for training and development, and chronic insecurity,' he said. 

'The green paper cannot arrive too soon.'

Continuing crisis

Alzheimer’s Society director of policy, campaigns and partnerships, Sally Copley, said people with dementia were being let down ‘time and time again’ amid a spiralling social care crisis.

‘This can’t continue, and the government has a chance to set this right with the upcoming green paper,’ she added.

‘After numerous delays, people with dementia can wait no longer for this promised proposal to fix dementia care.’

In this week’s conference speech, Mr Hancock also pledged £240 million towards the social care system in a bid to ease NHS winter pressures.

Reacting to the speech, RCN acting chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said Mr Hancock had little to say about the NHS workforce, as well as the ‘scores of unfilled jobs in every healthcare profession’.

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