It’s one of the key reasons behind the NHS crisis, experts agree that the changes made by the Conservative government since 2010 have caused it. A recent study in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) highlighted its massive contribution to the excess 120,000 deaths seen since 2010. Despite being a critical issue for society, it wasn’t mentioned in the budget, nor have its affects reached the front pages of the BBC.
We’re talking about Social Care.
Since 2010 the Conservative government has made £6bn of cuts to the social care budget, this has devastated the ability of councils to provide effective and compassionate care for the most vulnerable in society.
A majority of these cuts have been related to the crippling cuts to local council funds, 37% real terms funding cut, meaning some councils are now spending half their budget to try keep the social care services treading water. Of course, as with most funding areas with this government, the majority of funding cuts have been levelled at the Northern areas of the country, with an 18% reduction in some parts, versus a 2% reduction in the South West.
Despite causing an untold level of stress on those desperately in need of adequate social care, and the families trying to support them, the Conservative Whip mocked and laughed at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when addressing the issue after this weeks budget. Often termed Corbyn-zen for his calm and polite approach to politics, such childish and uncaring attitudes from the Conservative MPs opposite provoked a fiery response.
The collapse of adequate social care in the UK has had a devastating knock-on effect to the wider health service. At a time when hospitals are reducing the number of beds they have, the lack of social care provision is pushing vulnerable patients into hospitals, and preventing relatively healthy patients from leaving. These patients still require day-to-day care to maintain a functional lifestyle, however they require care from home, not stuck in a hospital bed. The social care crisis is denying these people the right to return home and live out their days in a comfortable independent environment, whilst placing an unbearable pressure on NHS services.
Now Conservative supporters may highlight that Theresa May did propose a way to fund the social care crisis, the Dementia Tax. However, this idea was widely rejected by the public, as it intended to asset strip those who have worked hard all their life, to become cash-cows for private care firms who would milk them for everything they have. Such an uncaring approach is typical of this governments attitude towards working people. It’s essential that we elect a government who will restore social care funding through progressive taxation, and reversing the tax giveaways this government has given to the wealthiest in our society.