A LEADING TORY COUNCILLOR has echoed the concerns of more than 60 government advisers, charity directors and independent experts who are demanding “urgent” and “fundamental” reform to care and home help services in England.
In a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, the experts say that a lack of “political leadership” must not be allowed to condemn 800,000 frail pensioners to a life of loneliness any longer.
The signatories include three advisers who have been leading the Department of Health’s consultation on reform, alongside crossbench peers and representatives of the British Medical Association, Age UK, Carers UK, the British Red Cross, and the TUC.
They back proposals that no one should pay more than £35,000 for care bills during their lifetime, and urge Mr Cameron to secure cross party support for “lasting reform”.
“The unavoidable challenge we face is how to support the increasing number of people who need care,” the letter says.
“It is currently a challenge which we are failing to meet – resulting in terrible examples of abuse and neglect in parts of the care system.
“This comes at huge cost to the dignity and independence of older and disabled people, but also to our society, family life and the economy: an estimated 800,000 older people are being left without basic care – lonely, isolated and at risk.
Shadow portfolio holder for adult social care, cllr Amanda Arnold has been at the forefront of the debate for several years in the borough. Cllr Arnold said: “The Dilnot review has provided a number of opportunities for improvement, not least eradicating the problem of those with lower incomes and cheaper homes spending everything to pay for their care, which has always been seen as the most unfair element of the current system.
Thurrock Council has invested year on year in its adult social care services. It was always a Conservative priority, but even so, the constant need to negotiate on prices with our partner providers due to shrinking resources needs to be managed carefully to ensure that they are able to maintain a positive and well trained workforce.
“The way we treat our most vulnerable people reflects on us as a society, and I would support those who are working to keep this issue on the agenda of local government.”