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Calling government to its duty

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Why does a government with a comfortable majority need cross-party consensus before it takes action on social care? This is not a rhetorical question; I simply cannot understand why a government which is intent on making a number of major changes, leaving the European Union being the big one, in the face of significant opposition appears to see social care as a special case.

What is it about social care that makes a government so keen to get the thumbs up from the other side of the house before it makes any changes? Perhaps it is just a ploy for continued inaction – but why? Are politicians blind to plight of thousands of frail elderly people of low net financial worth who are not getting the care need to enjoy an acceptable quality of life in their final years? Could it be that the Conservatives don’t have much hands-on experience of providing services for the less well-off? Well, the sector is awash with consultants; I’m sure some of them could give the new government a few tips on how to go about it without the need to overcome the hard-wired contrariness that seems to stymie any attempt to achieve a cross-party consensus.

There is a wonderful legal principle known as ‘mandamus’ which is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a court to any government, subordinate court, corporation, or public authority, to do some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do, and which is in the nature of a public or statutory duty. Time for a class action by those organisations working on behalf of older people, invoking mandamus? The specific act? To adequately fund the social care of those older people who are unable to pay for it themselves.

Whether such an action would win-through doesn’t really matter; the associated publicity would surely help to concentrate the minds of those we have elected to ‘get things done.’ Or will these same organisations be content to wring their hands in anguish for another five years?

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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