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By Debbie le Quesne

Insights on care reform from the fringe

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I have watched with eager anticipation all the big three political party conferences, hoping for an insight of what lies ahead for the care sector.

All discussed the rising cost of care. And all failed to commit to a course of action. Great!

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to implement the Dilnot cap on social care costs “as soon as we are able” will have encouraged many, but not me.

Very often, it’s not the main stage where the whole truth emerges, but fringe meetings and it was at such a get-together that it was revealed his pledge “to face up to some hard truths about how we are going to pay for social care” could be some time coming. In fact, it could be years away.

To his credit, the health secretary did recognise the need to transform services to meet the challenge of an ageing population.

He spoke about changing the culture of the health system “to make it the best in the world at looking after older people”. Very Good ­– he’ll need to do something as failure to act in the interest of social care will inevitably see many more older people entering the health system in the months to come.

According to AgeUK, in a Guardian Professional online article, one in four people now considers care for older people among the most important issues that will sway their vote.

The leaders’ party conference speeches indicate Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband may not all be convinced.

I quote The Guardian report; “Older people’s issues didn’t merit a single mention in Cameron’s speech, unless you count a reference to the huge pension bills of ‘countries on the slide’. Miliband spoke briefly of having to ‘tackle the care crisis’ and the fact that people will have to retire later to fund our ageing society. Clegg’s focus, meanwhile, was on balancing the books so the government doesn’t ‘go bust’ and hit ‘the poor, the old, the infirm; those with the least to fall back on’.

As for the Dilnot capping proposal . . . you’re right: Nothing.

Many hope Norman Lamb, social care minister, will get get social care funding plans moving again despite the Treasury objections. I truly would love to believe he will, but here have been too many false dawns.

David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, described the care crisis as the most important issue this country is facing and one that is growing in magnitude.

“The challenge of reforming adult social care is set to fall off a cliff edge, and politicians need to act now or risk severely impacting on the services councils can provide for generations to come,” he was quoted as saying in The Guardian.

The challenges of which he speaks are huge, but please, will someone do something to help us soon?

Having now totally depressed myself, I must cheer myself up. Did someone say the weekend’s almost here?

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Written by debbielq

October 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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