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Five Nations Care Forum Communiqué – April 2024

Representative bodies for residential and home care providers from The Five Nations of England, Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales met in Nottingham to discuss the major issues and challenges for the care sector, across our various countries.

Regulation, international recruitment, funding and the COVID-19 public inquiries featured heavily in our discussions. We were united in our belief that there is a need for a long-term and strategic approach to social care across every nation.

One of the issues that we discussed at length was the important role of pharmacy in delivering both prevention and support to the people who receive social care. We believe Pharmacists play a vital role in delivering the medication, support and information that is required to enable people who have lots of different co-morbidities to live well. The Pharmacist is a vital part of the health and social care sector and we want to see their role developed, alongside our governments understanding, that they need to be properly resourced to deliver sustainable strategies on immunisation, drug administration and prevention.

Despite the challenges affecting the care sector, the Five Nations Forum believes that with the right support, social care can take its place alongside health systems, as a vital part of national infrastructure.


April 29th, 2024|

Eight steps to a sustainable social care workforce

16th November 2023: In this rapidly changing world, the demands on the social care workforce are also evolving. Our workforce is the backbone of the care and support sector, and investing in its capabilities and well-being is key to achieving our shared goals. Demographic and societal changes require a creative and innovative approach to how we deliver care and support in a sustainable way, which enables the person-led care and support we all deserve.

We recognize the need to support a workforce that is adaptable, innovative, and equipped with the necessary skills to address the complex needs experienced by individuals and communities. But this will require bravery across the whole social care system to address the implementation gap experienced to date and reinforced by bureaucracy and systemic barriers. The Five Nations Care Forum is calling for urgent attention on the following seven recommendations for a sustainable social care workforce.

A valued workforce

A collaborative pledge to value social care as a career that is actively promoted and supported by the sector, civil servants and politicians.

Continuous Training and Professional Development

Enable a system for knowledge exchange and co-creation across training and development.

Encourage and create the conditions for lifelong learning opportunities for all social care professionals.

Establish an interdisciplinary career pathway across health and social care.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Implement initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion with the healthcare workforce, ensuring that our staff is reflective of the diverse populations we serve.

Foster a culture of respect and inclusion, providing training to address unconscious biases and create a supportive working environment.

Engage in a global conversation about the impact of economic migration.

Mental Health and Well-being support

Develop comprehensive mental health support programmes for social care workers recognising the unique stressors they […]

November 16th, 2023|

Going Global

The Five Nations Care Forum met this week in Belfast. Bringing together representatives of care providers from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and England. Amongst the varied priorities for discussion, a dominant theme emerged in relation to the global ageing agenda.

In 2019, there were 703 million people aged 65 and over in the world. Projections are that number will double to 1.5 billion in 2050, with one in six people in the world age 65 or older1. Whilst we should of course celebrate the increase in longevity that we will hopefully all enjoy; it also is not a population shift that can be managed without significant changes to the way in which we all live. Climate goals are firmly embedded in our psyche, but the call for a transformation in approaches to ageing do not get anywhere near the same profile, yet the impact on communities, people, economies, and rights all require our attention. Zero Ageism should be our 2050 slogan, as a focus on the rights of older people will lead to a care system fit for the future.

Sustainable Care – A vision for the future

In response to this all parties at the Five Nations Care Forum agreed we need a new vision for the future, that should encompass our desire for all to be able not just to live longer, but to live high quality lives with dignity, respect, self-determination, and independence. In September this year, the Global Ageing Network and partners Scottish Care and the National Care Forum are hosting a Global Care Conference in Glasgow.  We are at a crossroads, as the ageing population grows, more of the same is not an option, resources are limited and […]

April 26th, 2023|

Five Nations Care Forum Statement on Social Care Energy Crisis

Intervention is required to prevent the collapse of social care from rising energy costs.

The Five Nations Care Forum, which comprises of care associations from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is calling for urgent intervention in the energy crisis in social care.

Rightfully, there have been many stories in the media about the sharp increase in energy costs for domestic consumers. However, the increases in energy costs will lead many vulnerable older people who desperately need a Winter of warmth to place themselves in situations of risk to health and wellbeing. The increases have already placed tens of thousands of citizens into real fuel poverty.

Little attention has been given to the effect of energy price increases on care homes and homecare organisations. The astronomical increases in energy bills have led to many care homes closing. Rising fuel costs have also meant that homecare organisations are closing their doors to new business, and handing back care packages.

Some of our most vulnerable people in care and supported housing are excluded from the various measures in place to support people living in their own homes with their increasing energy costs, such as the £400 energy rebate. There needs to be parity for the individuals living in care and support.

Social care and support providers are facing eye-watering increases in excess of 400% in their energy costs, both gas and electricity costs, which is simply unsustainable. The current energy crisis comes at a time when the sector is experiencing the worst workforce pressures the sector has ever known. Care and support providers are in a position where they must be able to offer better pay and rewards to retain and recruit staff, which is a direct […]

September 8th, 2022|

Five Nations Care Forum Communiqué 11 October 2021

Leaders of care associations in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland met in London on 4 and 5 October 2021, for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Reflecting on the invaluable role of our care workforce in making a positive difference to the lives of others, and on their vital contribution to economic growth, we renewed our collective commitment to improving their working lives.

Throughout the darkest days of the COVID19 pandemic, care workers kept going, focusing relentlessly on the safety and well-being of others.

Now there is requirement for Governments to engage with this vital healthcare workforce to ensure they are positioned to focus relentlessly on investing in them.

In Scotland and Wales, careworkers have each been given bonuses of £500 or more in recognition of their outstanding commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Northern Ireland there is commitment to do the same. The Governments of England and the Republic of Ireland have declined to acknowledge the exceptional contribution of the care workforce. Whilst the bonuses have been very much appreciated by careworkers, one-off payments of this nature do not solve underlying issues.

Increasing pay, terms and conditions of employment for the workforce, so they are on a par with equivalent roles in State-provided health services is a priority. The pandemic should signal an end to the discrimination applied by Governments towards employees in the independent and voluntary sectors who are fulfilling vital roles in caring for older and disabled people at home or in the community.

News of the Scottish government’s announcement on 5 October 2021 that wages of careworkers in Scotland will rise from £9.50 per hour to £10.02 per hour, equivalent to Band 2 healthcare assistants in the NHS, was warmly welcomed and heralded […]

October 11th, 2021|

Call for an Older Persons Human Rights Convention

1st October 2019: On the UN International Day of Older Persons, 1 October, The Five Nations Care Forum, comprising eight national social care organisations, added their voice to the urgent call for a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.

Globally, between 2017 and 2030, the number of persons aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 46 per cent (from 962 million to 1.4 billion).

This day is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world.

Older people have always played a significant role in society, yet they are at risk of ageism, discrimination, poverty and disability, because their rights are not respected.

Old age is something which should be valued, but societal attitudes fail to recognise the benefits and potential of older persons. Old age is seen as a challenge rather than an opportunity.

Across the UK and Republic of Ireland we join the call, led by HelpAge International, for a new convention on the rights of older people. We believe that this is a crucial way to make sure that all people enjoy their human rights in older age, and on an equal basis with others.


Notes for editors

1. The Five Nations Care Forum enables representative care organisations for England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales to explore shared agendas in relation to models of care, registration, regulation and social care policy. For more information see:

2. For further details on the importance of the Convention see:

3. Enquiries to / 07584 659995

October 1st, 2019|

Belfast Communique


The Five Nations Care Forum, which comprises representative bodies from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, England and the Irish Republic, came together in Belfast to share experiences, and improve the status and recognition of care services.

The forum discussed a range of issues that have significant impacts on the care sector, including, regulation, funding, and the potential impacts of Brexit. These discussions clearly showed there was a commonality of challenges, but also a unity of purpose in confronting them.

The event acknowledged that care services in all countries are under significant pressure, but there was a shared commitment to ensuring that there was better understanding of the role care plays in the lives of all our citizens, and the enormous contribution it makes to both local, and national economies.

Throughout the meeting, there was a strong sense that we must all coalesce to ensure a better understanding of the importance of the care sector; and a hope, that citizens, politicians and the media, will increasingly come to see that social care needs to be regarded as an essential part of the national infrastructure.

The Five Nations Forum has embraced the strapline “Care about Care” and we hope that every citizen and institution will do the same.


May 13th, 2019|
  • Permalink Brexit Puzzle Pieces isolated on white background. 3D renderGallery

    Failure to recognise impact of Brexit on social care presents real risks for our most vulnerable citizens

Failure to recognise impact of Brexit on social care presents real risks for our most vulnerable citizens

Leaders of care provider associations across the UK have come together to express serious concerns about the implications of Brexit on the social care sector in terms of availability of staff and equipment.

The social care sector is heavily reliant on a workforce from across the EU. On any given day over 100,000 staff from across the EU are working tirelessly to support some of the UK’s most vulnerable citizens. Their contribution is vital and valued by those accessing care and support from them. It is currently difficult to recruit sufficient workers to undertake this important but challenging role and we can already see the prospect of immigration rules post-Brexit making it worse.

Care workers are carrying out complex tasks: delivering end of life care, supporting people with advanced dementia and neurological conditions, and working with people with complex mental and physical health needs. The failure to recognise the contribution of this workforce to society as a whole will leave some of the most vulnerable people unable to be discharged from our already overstretched hospitals. The current categorisation of social care staff as “low skilled workers” by the Migration Advisory Committee doesn’t recognise the level of expertise demonstrated by frontline staff 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

We are also concerned about the availability of key resources. For example no continence products are made in the UK and future access arrangements to drugs and radioactive isotopes are unclear. Health and social care providers need guaranteed access to these products to be able to deliver safe, quality, individualised care to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

The government must recognise the interdependencies between the EU and the UK social care sector in ensuring continued access to the […]

October 19th, 2018|

Next meeting October 2018 in Wales

The next meeting of the Five Nations Care Forum will take place Thursday 18th – Friday 19th 2018 October. It will be hosted by Care Forum Wales and will take place in Cardiff, Wales. Further detail will follow.

August 15th, 2018|

Next meeting in England in May 2018

The next meeting of the Five Nations Care Forum will take place Monday 20th to Tuesday 21st May 2018. It will be hosted by Care England and will take place at Down Hall Hotel & Spa, Matching Road, Hatfield Health, Essex, CM22 7AS. Click for further detail.

Five Nations Care Forum Members seeking further detail or to confirm their attendance are asked to email Antonella at

March 21st, 2018|