Responding to this evening’s BBC Panorama Crisis in Care Part One programme about social care, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which leads the national Health for Care campaign, said:
“Here is the stark reality of carers’ lives laid bare. Our social care services cannot cope, and our political leaders need to face up to their responsibilities instead of squabbling amongst one another.
“Successive governments have made promises but failed to fix fundamental problems. Families are worn down by a system that is not fit for purpose. The financial impact on the NHS was also evident in these harrowing stories.
“This was another powerful reminder that social care is one of the great unresolved challenges of this generation. Health leaders are now determined to do their bit to support social care funding reform: it is the right thing to do and because without it the NHS itself will not be able to deliver.
“The Health for Care campaign will continue to call on our politicians to act – the new Prime Minister needs to commit to act to shore up current service and provide for reform and a long-term funding settlement.“
Catherine Seymour, head of policy at Independent Age, said: “Tonight’s BBC Panorama programme shone a light on the impossible situations experienced by people, families and councils alike as they try to navigate the care crisis that has engulfed so many lives. Panorama reminds us of the unenviable decisions local authorities face; their hands tied by the longstanding lack of Government planning (2 years and counting for the promised Green Paper) and their purses empty from swingeing year-on-year cuts.
“The experiences shown moved me to tears as we saw the human impact of Westminster inaction. The solution is simple: Independent Age is calling on the government to introduce free personal care, making social care free at the point of use, just like the NHS. It’s fair; its affordable and it’s what people want.
“As a society, we have to change how we see social care. From the neglected, poor relation of the NHS, to the essential service that, for many, provides the only way to avoid an older age filled with pain, despair and fear.”