The heat is on for social care. In recent days and weeks we have seen increasing coverage of issues showing how social care is creaking at the seams, and worse, that it often fails to support the most vulnerable people it is there for. Stories of unmet need, abuse and market failure are rebounding in media outlets usually quiet on these issues.
Age UK has recently published its Care in Crisis report which shows the extent of the underfunding and level of demand that is facing social care, and we predict that it will only become more stretched in the months and years to come.
We will see unprecedented budget cuts to social care in the next few years (despite the extra £2bn from the Government to boost the shortfall) and the number of older people over 85 will increase by 66% in the same timeframe. Demand will increase and supply will decrease, adding more pressure to an already overloaded system.
Which means now, more than ever, it’s critical that we have a successful proposal for reform, followed by concrete and decisive action by Government. Age UK is looking forward to the early July publication of Andrew Dilnot’s proposals for the future funding of care and support.
Indeed this is our major beacon of hope – similar commissions have tried and failed to kickstart reform and these opportunities are rare. It is vital that Dilnot’s recommendations are serious contenders for a future funding model so that in future we can be proud of our care system.
Today Age UK is launching its Care in Crisis campaign, to raise awareness of the forthcoming debate on care and put more pressure on politicians to act urgently to push for reform. We are calling on MPs to gear themselves up for a fight in Parliament, driven by local campaigners forcefully demonstrating what happens when care fails.
It is likely that reform will be hard to win: after all, it will be expensive and is often not perceived as a vote-winner. But Age UK is arguing that we cannot afford not to reform social care and our Care in Crisis campaign will be pushing this issue to the centre of MP’s desks. To get involved, write to your MP to raise the issue and ask them to sign up to the cross-party Early Day Motion 1866 calling for urgent reform to our care and support system.
Watch this space – we will keep updating you on the progress of our campaign and the political reaction to Dilnot’s recommendations.