Social care 'on its knees' and needs urgent funding, says Suffolk boss

Prema Fairburn-Dorai

A Suffolk care boss has called for 'an immediate boost to funding' to adult social care after MPs drew attention to the 'ravaged' sector. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A Suffolk care boss has called for "an immediate boost to funding" for adult social care after MPs drew attention to the "ravaged" sector.

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) committee has insisted on a cash injection and long-term plan to help the adult social care industry meet immediate cost pressures and become sustainable.

Prema Fairburn-Dorai, chairwoman of the Suffolk Association of Independent Care Providers, said: "I agree totally, we need an immediate boost to funding. The care industry is on its knees.

"Providers are leaving the market because they just don't have the money. We're haemorrhaging staff out of the sector."

The LUHC committee said the growing pressure was due to the coronavirus pandemic, rising inflation and increases in the National Living and Minimum Wage.

They added these factors were exacerbating underlying challenges of rising demand, unmet need and difficulties in recruiting and keeping staff, criticising the government for a lack of timetable and measures of progress.

A total of £25 million has been pledged over three years for initiatives to support carers, but the LUHC committee condemned this as "totally inadequate", saying it would do little to assure them their contribution is valued.

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Ms Fairburn-Dorai also condemned the suggestion to cut late-night bus services in Ipswich, fearing it will leave some staff unable to travel to work.

As part of a cost-cutting package from Ipswich Borough Council, it was announced that the last buses from Ipswich town centre to most of the town's estates are likely to be cut from the end of September.

Ms Fairburn-Dorai said: "This definitely impacts people who can't drive, particularly staff who need to get to care homes which are usually quite out of the way.

"The bus service is pathetic in rural areas. I think we'll end up losing staff as they simply won't be able to afford to work our late shifts."

Some staff working in semi-rural care homes can only get to their night shifts by taking the last bus of the evening and end up waiting in the staff room for up to two hours before their shift officially starts.