General Election 2024: The importance of adequate funding for health and social care

Open letter from UOK Partner Southdown’s Chief Executive to Prospective Parliamentary Candidates ahead of the General Election 2024.

I am writing on behalf of Southdown to stress the critical importance of adequate funding for health and social care, and to urge you to consider the points laid out below in your policy discussions and commitments leading up to the election. As a large and well-established provider in the housing, care, and support sectors across Sussex, we have a thorough understanding of the issues at hand and the solutions needed to address them, aligned with what matters to our local communities. We are a strategic partner to local authorities and NHS Sussex, working collaboratively to design and deliver innovative solutions to address priority community needs and alleviate pressure off statutory and emergency public services.

Adequate social care funding to relieve pressure on NHS and meet demand.

One of the most pressing challenges we face is the need for significant investment in social care to relieve the growing pressure on the NHS and provide support for people in the right place at the right time. With increasing numbers of people projected to require some form of social care during their lifetimes, it is imperative that we act now to ensure a sustainable and effective system that can meet this demand.

Fair pay to address social care workforce crisis.

Additionally, it is crucial to address the disparity in wages between social care roles and other sectors, such as retail. Increasing the National Living Wage for social care workers as a specific group would not only reflect the vital importance of their work but also help attract and retain skilled professionals in this field. Differentiating the remuneration of social care roles from other low-wage sectors is essential to acknowledging the specialised and critical nature of the support they provide. Within Southdown, we have a commitment to pay above the Real Living Wage, with our base hourly rate already being £12.10.

Never before has the need for social care investment been more urgent. At Southdown, we are dedicated to advocating for the necessary funding and support to build a robust social care system that benefits both the individuals in need and the broader community. Your support in prioritising social care funding will make a significant difference in the lives of countless individuals and contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of our society.

Neil Blanchard, Chief Executive at Southdown

Useful resources:

About Southdown:

Since 1972, we’ve been in Sussex, making a positive difference to the lives of people with mental health challenges, learning disabilities and those facing homelessness. As the largest not-for-profit care, support, and housing provider in the region with a turnover of £32 million and employing 850 staff, we support over 11,000 people each year across 60 different services. In addition, we play an active and leading role to develop housing, care, and support to improve access to services for those that need them. We have become known for our innovative approaches for care and support, often piloting new projects and programs that address the emerging needs within the community. This is something we are deeply proud of, and we are committed to working with partners to develop further ways to help reduce pressures on critical health, housing, and adult social care services.

How Southdown can support you:

We appreciate that this is a busy time for you but if you would like to find out more about issues I have raised in this letter or have wider discussions to help develop policy ideas in relation to housing, social care and health then myself and colleagues at Southdown would be happy to help. This could include visits to any of our services within your constituency to meet people who access our services and our colleagues.

I wish you well in your election challenge and look forward to working with you to best represent the needs of local people and communities in your constituency.

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Blanchard, Chief Executive at Southdown.