The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Breaking News: Government halves social care workforce funding

The Government has announced today (Tues 4th April) that funding to develop the social care workforce is now at £250 Million

This is half the amount published in Dec 2021 in the Government’s White Paper on Social Care. The Department of Health and Social Care said that plans for a ‘new care workforce pathway’ as well as ‘hundreds of thousands of training places’ will be backed by £250 Million in funding.

The BBC reports on this story and says, ‘A coalition of charities said this cut is "just the latest in a long series of disappointments" over social care.

The government said its reforms would give care "the status it deserves" but some organisations in the sector say they fall short of what is needed.’
You can read the BBC Report at this link

The Guardian leads with the headline: “Halving social care workforce funding in England an ‘insult’, ministers told.
You can read the Guardian story at this link.

The Guardian states that:

“A report published in March by trade organisation Care England and learning disability charity HFT described the adult social care sector as “on the precipice” because of financial pressures on providers.

Of the providers surveyed, 42% said they had had to close down part of their organisation or hand contracts back to local authorities to cut costs, while 35% said they were offering care to fewer people.

The report also said that “low levels of pay for care staff is considered to be the biggest barrier to recruitment and retention”.

All of these indications are extremely worrying for rural communities where there are particular challenges relating to the delivery of social care.

A report by the Nuffield Trust stated that “it had long been recognised” that rural and remote services faced particular challenges for a range of reasons, including:

  • workforce challenges, including recruitment and retention difficulties and higher overall staff costs
  • larger distances leading to higher travel costs and unproductive time spent by staff having to travel
  • challenges related to size, such as difficulties in realising economies of scale
  • access to certain resources being more expensive or difficult, such as telecommunications, training and consultancy

The Rural Services Network will be exploring this news story in more detail to consider in next week’s Rural Bulletin.

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