Social Care needs Greater CommitmentMay 21, 2010
I would like you to see a comment left on my petition calling for the Government to make Social Care a High Priority:
“The commitment to dementia research in the Coalition Agreement is very welcome, but there needs to be a commitment to good social care for dementia as well if it is to be meaningful and the elderly are genuinely going to be supported to live at home for longer.”
I think this sums up many of the real challenges that lay ahead for social care over the coming years which have not been fully covered within the coalition document and we need to hear more from the Government who must touch on further issues.
A commission on funding is welcome but if it only focuses on the level individuals have to pay for their own care then a vast section of those who use care services is excluded, those who cannot pay for their own services. This not only includes many elderly people but also many with disabilities and mental health issues. There needs to be a comprehensive review of the real cost of care services for those with multiple and complex whose funding is wholly reliant on Local Authorities.
There was a commitment within the coalition agreement to extend personal budgets and direct payments but how can these work without a proper assessment of care costs? If a Local Authority can only pay a certain amount in Direct Payments what guarantees are there that this will be sufficient to buy the quality of service an individual may need or will lesser quality services, whose staff training etc may not be at the highest level, be the ones that care users have to use because that is all their personal budget will allow?
There needs to be a greater acknowledgement from the Government of the needs or those with Learning Disabilities, particularly those with profound and complex disabilities, who have, so often, been ignored by policy geared toward the more able.
There also needs to be greater debate around the social care workforce. Social care is about people, those who need care and support services and those who give care and support, yes there have been technological advances in providing care and support but technology cannot give reassurance to a person who is confused, technology cannot support an incontinent person with dignity, technology cannot sit and have a conversation with an individual who wants to talk about their life and needs.
Unfortunately many of those who desire to provide care and support are stifled by the system in doing so. Social Workers are often tied up by paperwork, unable to get out and talk to the people they want to help. Care Workers, themselves classified as vulnerable workers by the last Government and the TUC, are asked to carry out care tasks that many would turn their noses up at and to do so working unsociable hours but they are expected to do this for low pay and little reward from society.
Unfortunately the Department of Health seems reluctant to commit to making social care a priority but British society needs to support and care for the most vulnerable in society and the Government must make those individuals a priority in its Parliamentary work. After all, what sort of society is it that marginalizes its most needy citizens in a time of economic uncertainty when the potential spending cuts will impact directly on the services provided to them. The Government must prove that it is not one that will preside over that sort of society.
Please sign my petition calling for the Government to make Social Care a High Priority: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/social-care-should-be-a-government-priority.html