Social care – an appeal
During a recent event on social care, Barbara Keeley MP, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Care, addressed an audience saying that the issue of social care, particularly funding, was a known issue among MPs, but nothing is being heard about it.
Further, they know it is an issue among the public themselves, particularly those who are often left caring for elderly relatives and juggling employment as well. Or even those who have to leave employment altogether.
Though, even in the age of internet campaigns, which really do work, not much is coming through on this subject. This is perhaps reflected in the weak plans by government to draw up a mere draft bill, which is rumoured not to even touch upon the glaring issue of funding – something which even with a cost cap, through the Dilnot review, will still see people spending a lot of money on the care they or their relatives receive.
There is another implication, that so often gets forgotten. That of the cost implications to unpaid, full-time carers. Dr Linda Pickard of the LSE put it in the following way:
Providing unpaid care to older people and people with disabilities is costly. Many unpaid carers leave employment and experience costs to themselves in terms of foregone earnings. However, initial findings from a new study at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) now show that carers leaving employment also involves high costs to the public purse. The study shows that the public expenditure costs of carers leaving employment in England amount to around £1.3 billion a year.
The implication thus being that if more money was put into social care, this would provide a counterbalance to the amount that is lost in tax receipts through people leaving their jobs to take up full-time care; not to mention the amount of money it costs employers to re-train other staff members on the back of this.
But sadly this is just another example of where short-term spending worries are given primacy over long-term savings and efficiency – or the spend to save model as it’s popularly known.
My ambitious appeal to readers is in tweeting this post to MPs, councillors and interested charities, social enterprises, private companies etc, to try and feed this issue back onto the desks of our elected senior representatives. Also it is an appeal to the Avaaz / 38 degrees-type campaigns that can engage the already-concerned public and raise this extremely important issue back to the top of the agenda again – before the problem only gets worse for social care.