Tag Archives: social care

MPs must work together to safeguard our healthcare

As a doctor, every day I see the enduring effects of short-term political spin on my patients.

Hospitals bursting at the seams, short-staffed and lacking beds, are told desperately needed nurses will only be available if there is ‘surplus winter funding’. Patients ready to leave hospital wait weeks for ‘exceptional funds’ to secure specialist accommodation, while we face a 12% rise in delayed hospital stays. 

The Commonwealth Fund rightfully praised the NHS’s quality. Yet BMA Chair Dr Mark Porter warned we mustn’t be complacent over the perils of short-term partisan meddling. ‘A combination of rising patient demand, staff shortages and falling funding is undermining the very foundations of the NHS, as is the constant short-term interference from politicians of all colours.’

Reinforcing his counsel, unprecedented strikes showed the peril of capriciously uncosted manifesto pledges. This week NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens called for a national consensus on social care by 2018, as we learned we lag behind similar countries in spending.

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Norman Lamb calls for a commission into the health and social care crisis

Norman Lamb Liverpool Spring conference Spring 2015 Photo by Liberal Democrats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb has launched proposals for an unprecedented cross party commission into health and social care.

Norman has received the backing from Conservative and Labour former Health Secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn and believes that only a full non-partisan commission will properly deal with the crisis in health and social care.

They have been joined in this call by NHS survival – a group of 8,000 doctors, patients and and members of the public committed to ensuring the survival of the health service.

The former care minister believes the commission would be a ‘Beveridge Report’ for the 21st Century, and be the first of its kind since the creation of the NHS and welfare state. Its aim is to engage with the public, staff in the NHS and care services and civic society on the massive challenge the NHS and care services face.

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Passing the buck for the cuts

George Osborne, and the Tory Party for that matter, are lucky so and so’s – even jammy, as they used to say where I come from. The goings on in Parliament yesterday illustrate perfectly why the government can make itself virtuous by not doing what it said it would only a few weeks ago. Not only are Tax Credits safe for the time being (although how long we the tax payers should continue to subsidise employers is debatable); but also Police Budgets are to be protected, thanks to the £27bn the Chancellor has suddenly found from somewhere.

We can speculate about the wheels eventually coming off the Tory wagon; but don’t hold your breath. Even with a slim majority it is unlikely that there will be enough by elections between now and 2020 for the balance of power to shift decisively, and, in any case, at 42% in one recent opinion poll, it’s unlikely the Tories will lose the plot.

What worries me more is how local government is going to cope with the cuts still to come its way over the next five years unless another non U turn might be in the pipeline. My authority, which has responsibility for Adult Social Care, can now, in theory, raise its portion of the Council Tax by 3.99% without the need for a referendum. That increase works out at about 83p per week for a Band D property in Lincolnshire and would raise around £9 million of which around £4 million would be ring fenced for Adult Social Care. However, as government grants will continue to be reduced that means that, as far as my county is concerned, things will, at best, more or less stand still.

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Lamb and Williams warn on care cap delay

As Care Minister, Norman Lamb (and his Liberal Democrat predecessor) were pivotal in ensuring that the cap for care costs was introduced. The Conservatives have now delayed its implementation by 4 long years. Norman described this as an “outrageous betrayal of people at their most weak and most frail. He said:

This an extraordinary and devastating u-turn from the Tories and an outrageous betrayal of people at their most weak and most frail with conditions like dementia.

Crippling care costs need addressing urgently. In coalition we designed a solution that would help and was affordable. Local authorities have spent millions already preparing for the introduction of the cap, yet we now hear the Tories are turning their back on it. This delay is a total waste of public money.

The distress and heartbreak that people feel when a loved one is in care, is being exacerbated by the fear of how to pay for it. We must not allow this to continue.

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LibLink: Paul Burstow on leaving the elderly at death’s door

Paul BurstowIn the Telegraph today, Paul Burstow expresses his concerns for social care under the Conservative Government. He writes:

Ninety per cent of NHS leaders now believe that social care cuts are directly affecting patient care, while social care leaders report that over half of the providers they work with are facing financial difficulties. This is not sustainable.

Social care has always been the poor relation of the NHS, but in the last Government, Norman Lamb and I made the reform of social care a priority, and, we made more progress in five years than the previous government did in thirteen. We secured an extra £7.2 billion, reformed social care law putting well-being and prevention centre stage, limited individual exposure to care costs and made sure no one should ever again have to sell their home to pay for care. And we laid the groundwork for bringing the NHS and social care together with one budget.

But he sees all that being placed at risk.

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Paul Burstow writes…Care Act shows how Lib Dems in Government make society fairer

Knowing that you will receive the best care possible means the world to everyone who finds themselves or their loved ones in need of social care.

That is why I made it my first priority as Care Minister, and together with Norman Lamb – our current Care Minister – and other Lib Dem colleagues we have worked hard to reform our badly out of date care system and drag it into the twenty first century.

Today, that work reaches a major milestone with the Care Act coming into effect. As the independent health charity the Kings Fund put it, on social care “the coalition has made more progress in five years than the previous government did in thirteen”.

The Care Act creates new rights and protections for people who need care and new rights for the friends and family who selflessly care for them. It puts in place for the first time a national rules to determine when a person is eligible for care ending the unfair postcode lottery that existed in the past. This means that  people with the same level of care needs will now be treated in the same way wherever they live. It also puts people’s wellbeing at the heart of all care decisions, and creates new responsibilities for local authorities to make sure that support is available to stop people developing care needs in the first place.

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Annette Brooke MP writes…Choice at the end of life is vital – free social care can make that happen

Annette BrookeThere are no dress rehearsals when it comes to where we are and who we are with when we die – so it’s crucial that people have as much choice and control over the situation as possible.  This is important not only to the person who is at the end of their life, but also those close to them. A person’s last days will stay with family and friends forever, so it is important that they should be left with a lasting, positive memory of their loved one receiving good quality care in a place of their choice.

What is not acceptable is for someone to end their days against their wishes in an expensive hospital bed, purely because they did not have the right support to die at home. Sadly, we know far too many people currently do not die in a place of their choosing. Macmillan Cancer Support found that 36,000 people with cancer who wanted to die at home died in hospital in England in 2012. In fact, 73 per cent of people living with cancer would prefer to die at home, but figures show only 30 per cent are currently able to do so. We cannot continue to have final experiences and enduring memories shaped by the absence of choice for people at the end of life.

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    @Glenn While I can appreciate you not wanting to pay for a service you do not use (er, except that you say you do actually...
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    I want a real democracy too, Thomas Shakespeare. I endorse a national day of protest on 7th May as ‘Make Seats Match Votes’ campaign day.
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    With all its faults the EU is really the only show in town. The Brits aren't the only ones who want to see change. It's...
  • User AvatarThomas Shakespeare 10th Feb - 7:54pm
    I'm afraid I digress though!
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    Hi Stephen Absolutely. We were kidding ourselves back in May this year. Re coalition here's my view. Coalition was the right decision. I say that...
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