An influential social care provider has launched his own personal manifesto in a bid to get a better deal for older and vulnerable adults from the forthcoming General Election.
Mike Padgham says it is vital that the next government tackles a social care crisis which has left 1.2m people living with unmet care needs and care providers disappearing. He has written to the leaders of all the main political parties inviting them to visit his care services in Scarborough to experience the delivery of social care for themselves, on the front line.
Mr Padgham’s manifesto includes calls for:
- a binding commitment to deliver any manifesto pledges on social care
- a root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
- merging NHS health care and social care into a National Care and Health Service, with its own Secretary of State, at Cabinet level
- greater funding for social care – possibly through taxation and/or NI contributions
- a fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- dementia to be regarded as a health issue
- a cap on social care costs, including ‘hotel’ charges
- people to save for their own care, as they do for a pension
- a national minimum rate for care fees
- a minimum wage for social care workers, above the National Living Wage
- social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT so that they can claim it back, as other business sectors do
- CQC to have much greater powers to oversee all commissioning practises such as per minute billing and 15-minute visits
- allowing nurses from the EU to work in the U.K.
- more nurse training and bursaries to encourage recruitment and end the shortage of nurses.
“As a country we are currently failing our most vulnerable citizens and this General Election gives us a vital opportunity to end that and give them the care they deserve,” he said. “Government after government has failed to grasp the nettle of social care and we cannot let them get away with it again.
“Social care is at the heart of a perfect storm, of rising demand for higher and higher standards of care, falling funding from cash-strapped care commissioners, including local authorities and increasingly dire staff shortages, especially nurses.
“Figures just out show a record number of care home businesses failing, with 75 declared insolvent last year – 421 in total since 2010.
“We have to find new ways to better fund social care, perhaps through making people save for their own care or, if necessary, through taxation. Nobody wants to pay more tax but if we want a good quality of social care in later life we may have to. Unless something is done, more and more people are going to be left without the care they need as more providers go under. In 2017, that simply cannot be allowed to happen.”
Mr Padgham, who runs Saint Cecilia’s Care Services in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, is calling on voters to make this a social care election and to question parliamentary candidates on the doorsteps and at the hustings on what they plan to do about care for older and vulnerable people. He would also like to see local and regional ‘question time’ events where candidates are asked questions on big issues like social care.
“Candidates are seeking our votes and asking us to trust them to deliver. We need to put them on the spot about social care,” he added. “This election has been sprung upon us and will be over and done before we know. We have to grab the opportunity or a chance to get real change in the way we care for this very vulnerable sector of society will be lost once again.”