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Wanted: A 2020 Vision For Social Care’s Future

Providers call for New Year pledge to end the crisis

Social care providers today call on the Government to make 2020 the year it finally ends a crisis in the sector which has left 1.5m entering a new decade without the care they need.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) says Boris Johnson and his Government has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tackle the social care crisis and go down in history as the administration that saved the sector.

The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham said: “We need a 2020 vision.

“We are at the start of an exciting new decade, with a new Government in place which, with a clear majority, should be in a position to get on and tackle the issues it has promised to tackle before – including social care. It is a real opportunity to make a difference to a lot of people’s lives.

“Boris Johnson promised to sort out social care when he first took office and repeated that pledge ahead of the General Election. Now he has that opportunity to be bold over social care, give it a real shake-up and produce something we can all be proud of for generations to come. He could make a name for himself as the Prime Minister who finally solved the social care crisis and ‘Boris’s Care Bill’ could go down in history.

“There are thousands of people here, in this country, alone, scared and vulnerable, waiting for someone to take care of them. People in their own homes, people stuck on beds in hospital corridors, people being neglected.

“If a child doesn’t get the care they require, this neglect is, rightly, called child abuse and parents are held accountable: in the worst of circumstances, children are removed from their parents.

“What about our 1.5 million adults who are not receiving the care they need: those who don’t have access to the right medication, those who don’t have access to the toilet and can go hungry and thirsty for hours without access to food and water – is this not also a form of abuse: abuse that the government is inflicting upon the most vulnerable of our citizens?”

He said he was worried that the Queen’s Speech had not included any specific pledges on social care.

“In the Queen’s Speech the Government made Brexit its top priority but also promised to enshrine in law a commitment to increase health service funding by £33.4bn by 2023-4,” Mr Padgham added.

“However, there was no indication that the Government had grasped that unless you tackle the under-funding of social care the pressures on the NHS will continue to be exacerbated, extra funding or not. Putting more money into the NHS without supporting social care is like redecorating the house but leaving a hole in the roof.

“Where was the legally-binding commitment for extra funding for social care? The promised extra £1bn a year won’t touch the sides and won’t even get us back to the levels we had in 2010.

“I have said it so many times before: we have 1.5 million people living without the care they need. And it is something that all of us face. None of us know when we might be the one needing care. Someone recently said to me that only the lucky die old. But do they? Are they lucky? I’d like to think that we are lucky to live a long life, but we all know that life may have unexpected and unwanted things in store: dementia, loneliness, lack of bladder control, to name but a few.”

He invited Mr Johnson to visit Yorkshire to see the social care crisis on the frontline.

“Boris Johnson thanked electors – particularly those in so-called northern Labour heartlands – for ‘lending’ him their votes. They will want to see him repay that loan and not just by delivering Brexit but by improving other things too, including care.

“If he wants to start in Yorkshire I will be more than happy to welcome him here to show him the full extent of the crisis on the frontline of social care and give him some pointers on how to solve it.”