A better future for adult social care
07 Dec 2018 - Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
A call for change
The imminent green paper on adult social care is an opportunity to galvanise change. And change is needed. Politicians, a whole array of policy papers, and participants in the sector all agree on that. But do our political leaders have the stomach for the challenge?
It would not be the first time they’ve ducked this. Going back over 20 years to a Royal Commission launched in the first year of Tony Blair’s leadership, Governments of all hues have largely failed to adopt meaningful, positive reform.
Put simply, if children were treated the way some of our older adults are we would not tolerate it as a society. The reality is that too many suffer at the hands of a system that is underfunded, fragmented and in some places essentially broken.
It is not all doom and gloom. As set out in the Local Government Association (LGA) Green paper, the industry itself has driven efficiencies and innovations which have led to improved outcomes across a range of measures. However, you do not have to move far before you hear heart wrenching tales of how the system overall has failed those who need our help most.
The purpose of this paper is to provide context and analysis on what is happening in this vitally important sector. It is of fundamental importance to many millions of adults who require support in living their lives. It also affects the c1.5m paid employees, and nearly 8 million family carers who provide the equivalent of around 4 million full-time jobs worth of support to those they care for. Unpaid care is worth well over £100bn pa to the economy; it is of a comparable scale to the entire NHS.
Everyone aspires to grow old. For a large proportion of us that do reach four score and ten, we’ll need some level of help and support to live our later years. Within the decade we will reach a tipping point where a typical pensioner is more likely to see 90 than not according to Club Vita; there will be increasing numbers surviving to much older ages. The Department of Health and Social Care suggests that the number of full-time equivalent jobs would need to increase at 2.6% each year until 2035 to meet increasing demand from these demographic shifts. The green paper provides a focus for us to improve that support, so the future is more dignified, more independent and more fulfilling for everyone.
We look forward to engaging in the debate, seeking to improve the system, and securing a better future for some of the most vulnerable in our society.
If you have any questions regarding anything covered in the paper, please don't hesitate to get in touch.