Down on the ostrich farm
By guest blogger CATHY BUTTERWORTH, Independent Nurse Consultant
I wish I could have been where Philip Hammond has been for the last few months – somewhere quiet and peaceful, away from the world, a desert island perhaps with lots of sand. He must have been so isolated, with no access to letters, phone calls and emails. He can’t have read the numerous reports from reputable organisations like CQC, Kings Fund, and British Geriatric Society. He hasn’t heard the stories of people in distress from organisations like Age UK. He can’t have known about the evidence from leaders of the NHS and social care providers, from Care England and NHS England. He doesn’t know about the many people who remain in hospital when they are ready to go home, but there is no support for them to enable them to leave. He can’t know about the providers who are withdrawing from providing care at home paid for by social services and the care home providers who are closing their homes or withdrawing from their contracts with social services.
He clearly has not received any communication about the state of adult social care and the worries for the immediate and long term future. If he had, surely he would have made some provision in his Autumn Statement to alleviate the situation. But wait, I’m forgetting – he is the latest in a long line of government people to use the ‘head in sand’ technique. The Care Act has tinkered around the edges of the problem, but failed to address the funding issues. The Dilnot report may not have had all the answers, but the recommendations are a start. Is the ‘head in sand’ technique really still an option for the future?
So for now, there are many people like Philip Hammond, who would like to escape to a desert island – older people languishing in hospital, becoming more disabled by the day; their relatives, worried about what’s going to happen; social workers struggling to cope with a demand for services they cannot meet, and many more people affected by the funding and resource crisis in adult social care.
I am dreaming that one day someone will be brave enough to take their head out of the sand, recognise the reality of the situation and start to make plans for a sustainable adult social care system.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.