The British Geriatrics Society calls for a lasting solution to the crisis in social care

eileenThe British Geriatrics Society welcomes any additional funding for social care. But we are concerned that the use of funding from increases in council tax and from funds generated by the New Homes Bonus scheme, announced today by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, fails to address the urgent need for a more lasting solution to the crisis in social care funding.

In response to the announcement, Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society and a Clinical Director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, commented:

“BGS welcomes any changes to funding of social care that help to address the current crisis that is having a direct impact on the healthcare of older people living with frailty – BGS members see the knock-on effects on a daily basis when older people present at A&E departments and when their discharge from hospital is a delayed because of a lack of capacity in the social care sector.

However, we are concerned that by allowing local authorities to increase council tax and to ring-fence the additional money to pay for social care, that not only does it avoid the need for a more fundamental review of social care funding, but it may in practice re-inforce inequalities in health and social care

We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment made in yesterday’s Question Time, to find a sustainable solution for the future.  BGS therefore supports the call by Sarah Wollaston MP for cross-party talks to find a long term solution for social care, and hopes that these will take place as a matter of urgency”

One thought on “The British Geriatrics Society calls for a lasting solution to the crisis in social care

  1. Crisis in Social Care
    Dad had experienced a Stroke and on discharge from hospital he was allocated some reablement support. I had asked for a Social Care assessment for Dad and was told that he wasn’t complex enough. I contacted the Social Work team on numerous occasions and was told that it would be up to 6 weeks before Dad would be assessed for a Social Care Assessment, and it wouldn’t be a Social Worker, as yet again Dad wasn’t complex enough. Six weeks passed and Dad’s health was deteriorating, he had been admitted through A&E twice after falling at home. Two professionals who knew Dad an Occupational Therapist and a Health trainer contacted Social Workers and explained Dad was vulnerable. I contacted them again explaining if he wasn’t assessed soon his needs would be ‘too complex’. Dad still didn’t get a Social Care Assessment. He nearly set fire to his house with a chip fryer he forgot he had left on. This was discovered just in time by a carer, Dad had no recollection of this despite his house being filled with smoke. Dad told me later the same day that the carers were making up stories and he didn’t understand why. At 1.25am that night (strictly speaking morning) I received a phone call to say his falls alarm had been activated and Paramedics and Police attended. Dad had fallen but managed to answer the door. He was taken to A&E and admitted with back and head contusions and confusion. Dad never returned home and therefore unfortunately my prediction had come to fruition. I am aware that there is a massive shortage of resources in Social Care, frontline staff do bear the brunt, but professionals need to work collaboratively and trust each other’s professional knowledge and judgement. Referral criteria should be guidelines not set in stone. Governments need to fund resources as the patients and families don’t need the extra stress of battling for services and support when they are already in an extremely fragile position. Social Care shouldn’t be a postcode lottery funded through Council Tax, it should come from central government. Placing the emphasis on local government allows central government to relinquish blame for any short falls or inefficiency in care provision. Social Care is not a ‘Cinderella, luxury service it underpins care and ensures support is proactive not reactive. Social Care is essential and can save lives.

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