Nursing in Practice Autumn 2021 (issue 121) - Page 6


‘ NI hike not enough to fix social care crisis ’

Social care will not receive enough money from the Government ’ s National Insurance hike to address the sector ’ s problems , with most of the money earmarked for the NHS , umbrella bodies have said .
The 1.25 percentage point NI and dividend tax increase passed through the House of Commons on 8 September by 319 votes to 248 . But of the £ 36bn extra the Government expects to be gained over the next three years , just £ 5.3bn is earmarked for social care in England , which critics have said will not be enough to fix the crisis facing the sector .
Instead , most funds will go towards reducing the NHS waiting list , currently standing at a record 5.5 million . And health secretary Sajid Javid has admitted that he cannot say how much money social care will receive or when because it ‘ depends on how NHS gets on with clearing the backlog ’.
But Richard Kramer , chief executive of disability charity Sense , asked : ‘ Will the money really find its way back into social care after 2025 ? We need a commitment from Government that this money will be ringfenced , or we will never find our way out of this crisis .’
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has calculated that , at an average of £ 1.8bn per year , the social care funding boost will be equivalent to around 9 % of what councils spent on adult social care services in 2019-20 .
Under the proposals , patients entering the social care system from October 2023 will not have to contribute more than £ 86,000 to their care costs over their lifetime . However , the daily living costs in a care home – those associated with food , energy bills and the accommodation – will not count towards this cap .
The tax changes will come into effect from April 2022 . The NI increase will appear on people ’ s payslips as a separate Health and Social Care levy from 2023 .
’ A fifth of care home staff could be lost because of mandatory Covid jabs ’
Up to a fifth of adult care home staff could face dismissal after the policy to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for them comes into force on 11 November .
This is according to the Outstanding Manager Network , a group sharing good practice in the sector , which wrote to Commons health and social care committee chair Jeremy Hunt in August . The group warned care providers had suggested 10 % to 20 % of workers might have to be dismissed because of the policy .
The letter said the existing staffing crisis had already left some care providers ‘ concerned that they are not even operating at safe levels to do just the basic care ’, while others ‘ are handing contracts back to local authorities because they simply cannot find the workforce to deliver them ’.
Network chairs Jane Brightman and Judith Vernalls wrote : ‘ Following eighteen incredibly difficult months many of us are finding our positions extremely challenging and are genuinely concerned about the safety and sustainability of services .’
Under the upcoming rule , care home staff who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to enter a care home unless medically exempt . A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told Nursing in Practice in June that these staff ‘ may be asked to find alternative employment ’.
The policy will apply to all staff directly employed by the home or provider , as well as agency workers or volunteers deployed in the home . Anyone visiting the home to work – such as healthcare workers , tradespeople and hairdressers – must also follow the new regulations .
NMC community nursing plans put patient safety at risk , warns QNI
The NMC ’ s community nursing plans put patients at risk because they will lead to ‘ unwarranted variation in course quality and content ’ for specialist roles , the QNI has said .
The institute is concerned about the proposed introduction of a single set of standards for specialist practitioner qualification ( SPQ ) programmes . The NMC closed its public consultation on the changes on 2 August and says ‘ teams of individuals from across the health and social care sectors ’ will now come together to make recommendations based on the contributions and ‘ updated evidence ’.
In its response to the consultation , the community nursing charity argued the generic standards would also lead to ‘ increased risks of suboptimal or poor care ’. They pose ‘ genuine and serious risks ’ to staff retention at a time of serious staff shortages , ‘ none more serious than in the community ’, it added .
Currently , the NMC has separate SPQ standards for district nursing , general practice nursing , community learning disabilities nursing , community children ’ s nursing and community mental health nursing . But the proposals would introduce one set for all community programmes .
But the QNI said these ‘ catch all ’ community standards risk ‘ eroding and undermining the qualities that make each community nursing field of practice unique ’. It fears the NMC is assuming ‘ all five existing SPQ fields of practice are all very similar ’ and do not go beyond ‘ the competencies for initial registration as a nurse ’.
The NMC initially said the generic standards would include ‘ bespoke elements where needed ’ – but concluded none was needed during the pre-consultation process . It said it would continue to ‘ test this view ’.
ALAMY nursinginpractice . com Autumn 2021