You must question as I do, just how important social care really is? to our politicians I mean! I know it’s important to me and those of you reading this blog and it’s even more so to those who receive services. But if social care was as important to our Politicians as it is to us why are none of them shouting from the rooftops calling on the Government to deliver on the Social Care Green Paper?
With five delays and no sign of an appearance, despite the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care Matt Hancock tweeting in December 2018 that he was “putting the final touches” to it for a launch in the New Year, and failure to meet his own deadline of the 1 April, there is still no sign, leaving most of us contemplating the term ‘kicking and long grass’.
Whilst Brexit has dominated the headlines and continues to be the main, if not only business of the day, everything else has taken a back seat, including social care. But Brexit hasn’t stopped people ageing, hasn’t stopped the increase in demand for adult social care nor has it provided local authorities with enough resources, (more of a band aid) to meet demand. Add to the mix the recruitment crisis and the potential for a social care tsunami would appear to be heading our way.
Indeed, a recent article by the Institute for Government, stated that academic studies have shown that older people in need of adult social care has increased by 2%, whilst working age adults in need of adult social care has increase by 3.7%. Furthermore, more social care providers are becoming increasingly more financially unsustainable as their revenue does not cover the costs of providing services.
The frustration of further delays is evident, and commentary on the issue widely publicised yet no one seems to be listening to those holding the torch for social care. Let’s be perfectly frank. If social care fails so does the NHS, without social care the NHS couldn’t and wouldn’t function in the same way it does now. Would a key NHS document be delayed year on year as this one has? No of course it wouldn’t!
This is perhaps because the NHS is considered an institution, the envy of the world! held in high regard by the general public. We love the NHS I hear them cry! Who pays the same attention to social care? In my humble opinion, for what it’s worth, people only understand social care and its importance when they start to receive it or work within the sector. At some point or another we all use the NHS and its range of services, but some of us not all only use social care later in life, or if circumstances change the course of our lives which brings us into contact with it. Despite its strategic role in underpinning the NHS, social care has yet to be placed on a comparative pedestal with the NHS by our society and it therefore feels as if it will remain just the poor relation forever, waiting for a few crumbs to be dropped from the government table, unless we can change perception, raise its profile and ensure that everyone knows you can’t have one (NHS) without the other (Social Care).
It’s up to those of us that believe social care is just as important as the NHS to start the social care revolution. Only then can we distract the attention of our political leaders away from the business of the day to a crisis which could potentially be more catastrophic than a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
So, there we are, just some food for thought. And one final point. Following a planned launch at the end of summer 2017, we are two years further with no clear timescale for the delivery of the Social Care Green Paper just the words “in due course”. Sound familiar?
For more information please read ‘The Government must not continue delaying the social care green paper’ article.
Written by Karen Caffrey – Chair of LHCPCIC and Operations Director Homecarers Liverpool