Mind responds to PM’s Health and Social Care announcement
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans for reforming and funding England’s social care system as well as proposals to tackle pressures on the NHS caused by the Covid pandemic. In order to reduce the huge costs people face for social care, the UK Government has announced there will be a 1.25 per cent levy based on National Insurance across the whole of the UK.
More than half of the current social care budget is spent on working age adults, and a huge proportion of people needing social care support live with mental health problems, who often need extra support and advocacy to help people manage things like relationships, housing, and employment – which allows people to stay well.
“The Prime Minister made no specific mention of mental health in today’s press conference around new Health and Social Care plans, despite there being a massive need for support from our health and care system for young people and adults with mental health problems. We need the right support, at the right time, in the right place, and we need that now. We welcome today’s announcement by the UK Government to increase health and social care funding, but we need to see further detail on both funding and planning surrounding mental health social care in England.
“Our current social care system is not fit for purpose. It has been broken for a long time and has been hit hard by the pandemic, as have NHS waiting lists and services. Any reform must reach everyone in need, including those of us with mental health problems - allowing people to live as independently as possible in the community and reducing the risk of needing more intensive support further down the line, this is even more important as we are already seeing increased severity of mental health need.
“New funding into the health and social care system must be fairly allocated to mental health. As part of this it’s crucial there is more investment in the often undervalued and underpaid health and social care staff delivering this vital support. As the UK Government looks at the best way to find the money to fund social care, what is absolutely clear is that it cannot disproportionately impact those already living in poverty or on low insecure incomes. Further taxing the wages of those who earn less will increase the amount of people pushed into poverty. Any new strategy or funding must tackle the ever-widening inequalities across the country.
“Key to all this is addressing the wider long-term social and economic impacts of the pandemic and the economic recession. While health and social care investment is welcome, the UK Government will fail in its efforts to ‘level up’ if it continues to press ahead with welfare system cuts like cutting Universal Credit by £20 a week at the end of the month, or refusing to extend this increase to disabled people who need support from older benefits such as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who often face extra living costs and have gone without this additional support throughout the pandemic.”