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Campaigner angry over lack of response to letter to MPs

March 27, 2019

A campaigner who wrote to all 650 of the country’s MPs about what he describes as “the current crisis in adult social care” says he is “hugely disappointed and let down” after receiving fewer than 10 replies.

Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, a representative body for independent care providers, said the response was a “damning indictment of the way some politicians felt about the plight of the country’s oldest and most vulnerable people”.

“I am dismayed by the response,” said Mr Padgham, who wrote to every MP in November.

“I know there are other, very serious issues facing the country at the moment – Brexit and knife crime to name only two – and I wouldn’t want to belittle the importance of those or other issues.

“But as each day passes, more and more people are not getting the care they need and from the response I have had to the letters, it doesn’t look very much like some of our MPs are very concerned.”

Mr Padgham is also angry that the proposed Green Paper on social care reform looks to have again been delayed, until the summer.

“Sadly, that is another kick in the teeth to those people currently living without care,” he said.

“We don’t need further delays, we need action now.” In his letter to MPs, Mr Padgham said: “Some £7bn has been cut from council social care budgets in the past eight years and without action, the sector is facing a predicted shortfall of some £2.8bn by 2019/20, or £3.5bn by 2025.

“We cannot wait for the long-promised and long-delayed Green Paper on care, because even when that is finally published it will be many months, if not years, before we see meaningful change.”

He called for integration of social care with NHS care, better funding for social care and for care to be made zero rated for VAT, all of which would enable social care providers to invest, properly reward and recruit staff and be ready for a rapidly increasing demand for care.

“Social care employs 1.5m people, which is 200,000 more than the NHS, and contributes £46.2bn to the economy. With the right support, it could contribute even more, whilst providing proper, sustainable care for a rapidly ageing population,” the letter said.

“Governments of all political persuasion have failed to tackle social care and we are now sleepwalking towards a greater crisis that will see hundreds of thousands more people going without care.

“We have had 12 social care ministers in the past 20 years and still we are in the mess we are in today. The last 20 years have seen 12 green papers, white papers and consultations of one kind and another about social care and five independent reviews of funding. We talk the talk and set out with good intentions I am sure, but always get the same disastrous result. We never learn and as the saying goes, ‘those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it’. “What is needed now is not more analysis but a clear commitment to action to address both the immediate short term pressures and longer term sustainable funding. Today I urge you to take action to stop the crisis in social care and help hundreds of thousands of people currently denied the care they need.” It works on behalf of care providers for all client groups including care homes, domiciliary care agencies, supported living and extra care housing providers, and day care centres in the private and voluntary parts of the independent sector.

Mike Padgham

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