Organisations warn parties against social care ‘betrayal’

Organisations warn parties against social care ‘betrayal’

2 hours agoBy Alison Holt and Eleanor Lawrie, BBC NewsBBCJulie Sharp got in touch with the BBC about her struggles with social care funding

More than 50 organisations and 24,000 people have signed an open letter calling on political parties to do more to support the social care sector after the election.

Signatories including Age UK, Marie Curie and Carers UK say social care provision “has slipped far below an acceptable level”.

They are calling for a new model that addresses the shortfall in care funding and “core issues” facing the sector such as pay, conditions and skills recognition.

“Social care provision has slipped far below an acceptable level and is having very real consequences for millions of older and disabled people and their unpaid carers,” the letter says.

“Promise that you will make change happen in the next Parliament, come up with sustainable funding and support the social care workforce. Millions of older and working-aged disabled people and their carers desperately need a social care system that works, and failure to act would be a betrayal.”

‘Incredibly stressful’

Julie Sharp, 38, is one of many people who got in touch with the BBC via Your Voice, Your Vote to talk about social care.

She needs access to lifesaving emergency injections for Addison’s disease, which can cause her cortisol levels to plummet.

Her council-funded respite care workers are not allowed to give the injections, and have been instructed to ask a member of the public to help if she needs one.

It means husband Sam is scared to leave the house in case he needs to administer it himself.

“It’s incredibly stressful, and it’s ridiculous. I can go out but I can’t properly relax because there’s always a niggling worry in the back of my head about what I’m going to come home to,” he says.

Julie says she wants politicians to “remove some of the rules and red tape so that people can do their job”.

Rotherham Council says it is supporting Julie in finding a solution to the issue, while NHS South Yorkshire says the decision to turn her down for a continuing healthcare plan is being reviewed.

‘Over-promising and under-delivering’

“Over the years we’ve had far too much of politicians of all colours over-promising and under-delivering on social care reform, and we can’t go through that all over again,” Emily Holzhausen of Carers UK said.

“A failure by the next government to address this long-standing issue would be a betrayal of all those who rely on care and their families, while also setting up the NHS to fail.”

A second letter, signed by the Local Government Association, Care England and others, urges politicians to use the last two weeks of the election campaign to talk more about social care.

The Conservatives say that if re-elected, they will press on with a planned £86,000 cap on social care costs for people who are older or disabled in England, from October 2025.

A Labour source has confirmed they “will not disrupt” these plans if they get into power. In their manifesto, Labour have pledged to form a National Care Service underpinned by national standards for care quality. They say they will work towards longer-term reform of the care sector.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to introduce free personal care to older and disabled people at home in England, and introduce a higher Carer’s Minimum Wage if elected.

Social careGeneral election 2024

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