Social care reform remains little more than an aspiration as workforce crisis deepens

Natasha Curry responds to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee report on the long-term funding for Adult Social Care.

Press release

Published: 04/08/2022

Responding to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee report on the long-term funding for Adult Social Care, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said:

“The new prime minister and government should be under no illusion that the significant challenges in social care are now fixed. It is time to stop overplaying the scope of the reforms tabled and underplaying the situation on the ground.

“The white paper currently amounts to little more than an aspiration. MPs are right to be concerned about the lack of a comprehensive plan that addresses deep-rooted problems across the sector. Urgent action is needed to tackle workforce shortages, instability in the provider market, as well as shoring up the shaky financial foundations that the current plans for reform sit on. 

“A shortage of workers across the social care sector is the biggest worry for providers of care. There is a desperate need for a realistic workforce strategy that goes beyond a wish list and puts pay for all social care staff on a competitive footing, which adequately rewards qualifications, responsibilities and experience.

“It is people struggling to access support to meet their needs and the unpaid carers(1) and family members filling the gap feeling the results of years of neglecting the sector and growing staff shortages. The pandemic has made these challenges more severe, and with Covid-funding coming to an end, we expect access to care to become even more challenging in the short term." 

Notes to editors

1. Next month, the Nuffield Trust will be publishing research on the mismatch between policy rhetoric and available support for the growing number of unpaid carers. 

2. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate

3. For all queries or to arrange an interview, contact: Simon Keen: 07780 475571 /; or Eleanor Martin: 07920 043676 /