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By Debbie le Quesne

Shocking, scary and annoying – social care ‘findings’

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I read with interest that two new reports question the value of social care. Really? Please, will someone tell me on what planet the authors live?

The I’ve-never-heard-of-before PLOS ONE non-for-profit online publications states, according to The Guardian online, that there is “no consistent evidence” to show that homecare for the elderly results in any benefit.

Is this report for real? I strongly suggest the authors spend a day walking in the shoes of some of my domiciliary care members.

And adding insult to injury, the National Audit Office questions the “weak” evidence that supports the commissioning of social care. Centre of argument is money. Apparently, it’s not cost-effective.

According to the Guardian report, after studying 64 randomised control trials (RCTs) over 20 years, PLOS researchers could find “no advantage” in having homecare as opposed to coping without.

I am aghast! Countless elderly have enriched, and healthier lives because of social care.

Let me quote the Guardian: “As the NAO points out, in what is the first of a series of reports it is planning on the adult care system, spending by English councils on social care fell 8% in real terms in the three years to 2013. Spending on services for older people fell 12%. About three-quarters of the drop in spending was made by reducing the volume of services provided.

“In this context, and with more cuts to come, every pound that is still spent must be put to effective use. Yet how many care commissioners and providers can demonstrate as much?”

This kind of heartlessness should be sparking heated debates in the Commons, campaigns to preserve social care and raising disturbing questions in the minds of right-thinking people.

I’d agree the mechanics of social care have been slow to develop support evidence, but we’re getting there.

Quantified outcomes – a new sound bite – are doubtless going to be required from local authorities. I certainly don’t trust any government agency to deliver the whole picture on this issue, do you?

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