‘……………By: Sue Learner
Social care funding was ‘strikingly absent’ from the Queen’s Speech which set out the Government’s intention to secure the future of the National Health Service by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care and ensuring thNatioe NHS works on a seven day basis.
There were also measures to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare, with plans to introduce waiting time standards for mental health services, talking therapies and specialist care for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis.
George McNamara, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Society, expressed disappointment in the Government’s failure to mention how social care will be funded saying: “Integration of health and social care is vital to providing personalised care fit for an ageing population with increasingly complex needs.
“Yet strikingly absent from the speech is any reference to social care funding. If the Government continues to treat social care as the poor cousin to the NHS, genuine integration can only remain an aspiration. It must be acknowledged that you cannot secure the future of the NHS without investment in social care.
“By the end of the next parliament nearly one million people will be living with dementia. Bold action is necessary to deliver a health and care system designed around people, not rigid, silo-based institutions.”
Government silent on issues older people care about
Independent Age also criticised the Government for ‘being silent on the issues older people most care about.
Janet Morrison, its chief executive, said: “Some of the measures in today’s Queen’s Speech could herald a new approach to how we deliver local services for older people, so for example in the City Devolution Bill. But to truly deliver on its promise of security and dignity in retirement, older people need the Government to act much more boldly over the next five years.
“To meet the aspirations of an ageing population, the Housing Bill needs to prioritise new house building for people in later life. Homes built specifically for older people have decreased from 30,000 per year in the 1980s to 8,000 per year today. The Government also needs to be much clearer about what action it will take to arrest the decline in the council help and local care services older people need to remain independent at home. These challenges must not be ducked, but the Government risks being silent on some of the issues older people care about most.”
Barriers facing disabled people seeking employment
Mencap would have liked to have seen the Government doing more to help people with disabilities into work.
Ismail Kaji, a spokesperson at Mencap, who has a learning disability, said: “I have job, but I am one of only seven per cent of people with a learning disability to be in paid work. I want to see the Government meeting their commitment to halve the employment gap for disabled people. Getting more people with a learning disability into paid employment is important — having a job makes you feel valued, respected and part of a team. Unfortunately, there is many barriers faced by people with a learning disability when trying to get into employment, such as employers who don’t understand what a learning disability is, or see the disability and do not recognise what the person can do with the right support.”
“I did not choose to have a learning disability. I have no choice about paying the extra costs that come with getting the vital support that I need. So I am very worried about the likely £12 billion of cuts to benefits, as I know are many other people with a learning disability. Whether I am working or not, my disability will always be there.”
As well as the issue of social care funding being left up in the air, cuts on council budgets are set to continue which will undoubtedly impact on local public services, particularly relied on by people with disabilities and mental health problems and older people. ……..’