If the treatment of our most vulnerable is an indication of how civilised a society we are, then I fear we are returning to the Stone Age. A report produced by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services warns that tens of thousands will face reduced help with basic tasks such as washing, dressing and eating as more than £1bn is cut from social care services for older and disabled people in England over the next year. Tragically, despite rising demand driven by an ageing population, fewer people will qualify for state-funded care while those who continue to receive a service may have to accept lower levels of support and a worse quality of life. The quality and reliability of local services will also suffer as a consequence of turmoil in the private care sector caused partly by an ongoing council freeze on fees, undermining attempts to maintain a “caring, compassionate and trained workforce”.
Funding to Worcestershire County Council has been cut by over £50m in the last two years. As the largest council budget, social care – personal care and social support services to children or adults in need or at risk, or adults with needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty – has been hit hard.
To those of us fortunate enough not to have personal experience of mental ill health, a learning or physical disability, or simply getting older and more frail these are just meaningless numbers. For adults, children and young people dependent on the support of social care and health services these cuts mean the difference between merely surviving and having a reasonable quality of life.
That is why I have joined the campaign, Stand Up 4 Care, to highlight the need for these care and support services to be protected. Please join us. (#StandUp4Care, Twitter and Facebook)