The time is now

Welcome to the first edition of ‘Real People’ of 2017. Happy New Year to you all, saying that, it seems a little late, as we are racing through January already.

So what’s happened since the last edition? Well, apart from personally consuming approximately 85 mince pies, scores of ‘pigs in blankets’ and maybe a small sherry or two, in the world of Social Care there’s nothing new really to report. There has been plenty of activity but still no revelations, solutions or answers. And so the pressure continues.

On behalf of ARC England, I signed the open letter that went to the Prime Minister yesterday calling for the government to establish a cross-party process to review and recommend action on future health and social care funding. There are 75 signatories on the letter, including ADASS, other leading membership organisations and large providers. It is clear that future planning for the Health and Social Care sector’s future is desperately needed and so doesn’t just fall in to the lap of whoever is in power at a given time. It is a responsibility that holds no political boundaries.

The cross-party collaboration process is certainly a proposal that would, if it comes to fruition, help identify a way forward for the future sustainability and capacity of the sector, with all parties offering a commitment that has never been seen before… But, what about now? The crisis is NOW, is very real and is increasingly challenging.

The extra ‘challenge’ is coming from HMRC at the moment, as a lot of you will already be aware. We all agree that people should be paid properly, but, it seems not having a crystal ball to see what the requirements might be to adhere to a law that hasn’t been passed yet, in say 6 years time, is a costly one.

I have spoken to a number of members recently who have been subject to an audit by HMRC, and it’s just not pretty. It seems there are inconsistencies occurring in many guises and the ramifications of the findings of these audits are huge. We have just sent out a survey to members about this issue actually, so please complete it in confidence if you get opportunity to do so, we are keen to hear your story.

I hate to be doom and gloom, it’s a new year for goodness sake. One good thing I have seen over the few weeks is greater media coverage, greater political interest and challenge. Even Simon Stevens, speaking out to say that there is simply not enough funding even though the government are saying quite the opposite, is a step forward in my book. Eventually the pressure will have to lead to positive action – there is no choice.

 

Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director