Social Care for the Future

Last week in Horsham’s Carfax it was a pleasure to touch base with two great charities.  On Saturday with Dame Vera Lynn’s Childrens’ Charity which does wonderful work helping toddlers with cerebral palsy achieve their full potential through early intervention.  On Thursday with Age UK who are raising awareness on social care for older people prior to the Government’s consultation (“green paper”) this autumn.

I am delighted that Age UK are raising awareness about this critical service:  we need greater appreciation  not only on how it could be improved but the base from which we begin.

When the NHS was founded no parallel service was ever established to provide universal social care provision.  The demographics of our country, family ties, how long we can expect to live (and with what complex conditions) these have changed immensely over the last 70 years – as, accordingly, has the need for adult social care. Only a minority will ever require long term residential care and for those who need and can’t afford it support exists.  However for many older people the potential need for support, and the costs associated, are a great concern.

We need to address these fears, to enhance provision by providing confidence in future funding and provide support to the NHS that the seemless transfer from hospital bed to proper care can provide.

Our social care system cares for over a million people and according to the Care Quality Commission  four out of five adult social care services in England are rated Good or Outstanding; this is encouraging progress. However where problems occur (of which we have seen too many examples locally, including the Orchid View scandal) the impact can be horrific on the most vulnerable.

This week the Government has announced an extra £240m of funding  to help ensure that sufficient places exist this winter to allow older patients who are fit to be moved from hospital into another caring environment:  the right answer for patients and the NHS.

This is to be welcomed but these also need to emerge from the Green Paper the long term solutions for an issue that need to be resolved for everyone’s peace of mind.


Photo caption: With Horsham District Age UK in the Carfax last week to discuss the future of social care.