Just over a month ago a group of well known UK charities wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister about the Crisis of Care of the Elderly. This is inevitably going to fall on deaf ears. I have reprinted the letter in full below because it is addressing a very important subject :-
The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
4th May 2012
Dear Prime Minister,
Social care is in crisis – the system is chronically under funded and in urgent need of reform. Without this, too many older and disabled people will be left in desperate circumstances: struggling on alone, living in misery and fear.
The system is a lottery – some of us will be lucky enough never to need care, but many of us will need support at some stage in our lives to carry out everyday tasks and could lose everything – our savings, our dignity, our independence. We agree with your comments in March that action is needed to reform a system which can currently leave people helpless, in the dark about their care and suffering massive losses as a result of care bills.
We see the devastating impact of years of failure to reform. The right care and support can enable older and disabled people to live independent and fulfilled lives – but we currently face a vicious circle where limited resources are focussed on only those with the very highest of needs. This only worsens the crisis in care as many older or disabled people are left without support – in quiet desperation, trying to cope alone, often ending up in hospital or crisis care. Families are paying the price too, as experienced staff are forced out of work to care for relatives, and many carers pushed to breaking point caring for loved ones.
There is widespread and increasing support for urgent reform – from across society and the political spectrum. That is why we are calling on you to take forward social care reform as your personal mission, your legacy to future generations. Without this leadership, we fear the fundamental and lasting change needed cannot be delivered.
We recognise that it is not an easy task, but it is achievable. The reports of the Dilnot Commission and the Law Commission have set out a roadmap for the funding structure and legal reforms that together will help to produce a fair and sustainable system. As the Government prepares to publish a White Paper on social care and progress report on funding, it is essential we bring together all those who can play a part in creating a better care system for the future and help to ensure this year marks a turning point for care.
We firmly believe that the care challenge we face requires all of us to pull together, and we stand ready to work with you to secure the changes we need. That is why we are calling on you to personally convene a care summit in advance of the White Paper, to bring together all parts of Government along with public service leaders, local government, charities, providers, community groups, unions and the business community. Whilst we know decisions, particularly on the funding of care, will be difficult; they must be made now – older and disabled people and their families cannot wait and will not accept delay or half-measures.
We want disabled and older people and their families to be able to live without fear of what tomorrow might bring. We are asking you as Prime Minister to show the vision and courage to make this a reality.
Signed by 78 UK Charities
I believe all of the 78 charities who signed the letter are aiming in the wrong direction and I will comment on this in my next blog.