Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Social care - or lack of it.


Green Party Health Spokesperson Stuart Jeffery today responded to the annual 'State of the Nation' report from the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

The report has, for the first time, explored the experiences of people not deemed eligible for state-supported social care - either because their need is not considered critical enough or because they are found to have sufficient funds of their own to provide to pay for their own

Mr Jeffery said:

"Today's report is a damming inditement of the state of social care in England.

"Recent local area settlements and last year's comprehensive spending review have combined to force local authorities to cutback on vital services, and some of the most vulnerable people in our society are feeling the effects.

"The number of people receiving support from their local council has fallen in recent years. Seven out of ten councils now restrict their services to those people whose needs are defined as 'substantial' or 'critical'.

"Government care minister Ivan Lewis has responded - announcing a fundamental review of eligibility criteria, but an enormous amount of the problems that people are experiencing on the front line are just to do with a dearth of funds."

Pointing to the green paper due for release later this year, Mr. Jeffery concluded

"The Government has a tremendous opportunity to re-frame the whole social care system, ransforming it into one that reflects our aging society's hanging needs.

"This is an open and shut case - budget cuts at a national level mean some of the most vulnerable in our society are not receiving the support they desperately need at a local level.

"The Green Party want to see all social care provided free at the point of need. If there is dispute between the person requiring care and the local authority there should be an independent assessment and appeals process. This is the best way to ensure equity and the best way for us to care for the vulnerable members of our society.

"We desperately need to see this and future governments commit to spending a higher proportion of public money on social care - as a matter of urgency."

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