Ten…nine…eight…seven…ways to fix social care

“We all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing the things that matter to us.”

It is easy to support @socfuture’s vision of the future, developed as it has been through wide consultation with working age disabled adults, and it is heartening to see versions of these words starting to be adopted by others.

Photo of Steve Scown
Steve Scown, Dimensions CEO, blogs

But not everyone appears to be listening:

Last week, the Social Care Taskforce’s own Learning Disability and Autism subcommittee issued a furious response to the Taskforce’s plan, pointing out that its recommendations had been largely ignored.

Many of the concerns circulating amongst fellow CEOs this week (such as access to testing and infection control funding in supported living) echo the same concerns – a belief, built on solid evidence, that people with learning disabilities and autism are simply seen as second class citizens. That they are ‘Any Other Business’ in meetings, a group to be considered only when the main agenda items are dealt with. The 80/20 rule is all very well, so long as you are one of the 80.

They made a clear social and economic argument for the changes they wanted to see, and provided a single, vote-winning political choice. After a few years of single-minded campaigning, Australian voters supported a 0.5% income tax hike to pay for a national social care insurance scheme.

Contrast that with how our can is kicked further and further down the road.

It’s not for lack of shouting.

Actually, I contend, it is because of all the shouting. I see over a dozen different ‘fix social care’ campaigns and reports out there right now. @LGAcomms promote ‘Seven principles for social care reform. @1ADASS have wisely thought of ‘Nine statements to help shape social care reform. @NHSConfed, via the Health for Care Coalition, tell us to ‘Grasp the Nettle’ with a measly four themes whilst @TheKingsFund cites five priorities in their ‘Road to Renewal.’ Even @The_TUC have got in on the act, citing five priorities to ‘Fix Social Care.’ Other campaigns of note are run by @HealthDevo, @SCIE_socialcare, @NatFedNews, @LearningDisEng and @Mencap_charity.

Frankly, there’s a hair’s breadth between most of these campaigns and if any one of them were to achieve their goals we’d all be in a far better place.

Skills for Care estimate there are over 18,000 organisations involved in delivering social care in the UK. Every single one with its own vision of the future. How much better would it be if, instead of being ‘divided and conquered’ like this, our sector were able to speak with a single voice? Achieving that doesn’t require some sort of National Care Service but it does need genuine collaboration.

Until we who live and breathe social care can come together to articulate a credible social and economic vision of the future, frankly we deserve no better. And ultimately, it is the people we support and care for who lose, now and in the future.

Care to talk?