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Gloucestershire Business News

Mears Group calls for 'meaningful' social care reform

The Mears Group, based in Brockworth, fears the recent Government announcement on social care funding may not bring in 'meaningful reform'.

Mears, located at Gloucester Business Park, employs over 1,000 carers across the country within extra care and supported living settings.

The company says it welcomes the Government 'grasping the nettle' on social care funding, which it says has been avoided by governments for over 20 years.

But it adds: "We look forward to the White Paper but are fearful that social care will once again miss out on essential and meaningful reform."

It raises a number of concerns with ministers about future provision.

Firstly, that out of the £36 billion over three years only 15% is ring fenced for social care.

In a statement the company says: "We would ask why the money cannot be spent on adult social care immediately by dividing up the pot between the NHS and local councils?

"The Prime Minister has noted that 30,000 people are in hospital that actually need social care, so why is social care not getting more money immediately?"

Mears also raises concerns that money spent on the NHS should provide extra services and not more bureaucracy.

It points out the disparity between NHS staff and Care workers in terms of pay and conditions and urges the Government to recognise them as professionals rather than vocational workers.

The Group urges ministers to include extra 'care' housing in housing plans so that people can live independently and keep them out of the NHS.

Mears currently provides care and support services to 21 extra care schemes across the country and has 10 years' experience of providing services in these types of settings.

In February 2020, Mears sold the care side of its business to Cera Care Operations Holdings in a deal worth £5 million. Cash from the sale was earmarked to cut Mears' debts.

Mears said the sale would ensure continuity for customers and staff, at a challenging time for the care sector.

David Miles, chief executive of Mears, said at the time: "The sector remains underfunded and it has proved impossible to generate an adequate financial return.

"I am pleased to have completed the disposal of the England and Wales Domiciliary Care business to Cera Care. This will provide continuity for our customers and employees, at the same time as enabling us to focus our efforts where we can deliver superior returns for shareholders."

In October last year, Mears was appointed by Exeter City Council to deliver its new integrated asset management contract, with 6,000 properties.

The contract followed Mears' appointment to build, manage and maintain Cornwall Council's extra care provision and a deal with landlord services company Aster in Dorset and Somerset.

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