It’s time for people power

Posted on February 13th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on It’s time for people power


By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

It has been revealed that many people who have successfully negotiated the labyrinthine application process for NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) now find their wish to be cared for at home counting for nothing as CCGs limit funding for delivery in domestic settings.

The outrage that greeted the disclosure suggests the move has come as a surprise. Really? Disturbing it is, new it is not; this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Where I live, councils and health authorities got together in the early noughties to create, with Whitehall’s blessing, what is still a unique development: 500 beds worth of council-operated nursing homes. No sooner were they up and running than the erstwhile allies were at each other’s throats, arguing about eligibility assessments for CHC, each determined on budget protection. Without a national health and social care service – locally pooled budgets and their like are inherently unstable compromises – these sorts of disputes will confound even the best intentions. Meanwhile, we stagger from crisis to crisis.

What is needed is not a bailout but a fundamental re-think. However, the knowledge that it will take a thumping increase in taxation for social care to be put on the same footing as the NHS has so intimidated ministers that the issue has become a no-go area for policy making. Lacking the backbone to conduct an honest public discussion, they have resorted to floating the vacuous notion of a DIY family-centred solution. In certain circumstances, local citizens must be given the right to decide on proposed council tax rises.

Should not income tax payers be similarly empowered on the subject of “free” social care? It would mean another referendum, of course – but wasn’t the last one such fun? If a question as complex, as racked with far-reaching consequences as Brexit can be “answered with a single yes or no on one day”, then why can’t the future of health and social care? So, all together now: Dear Prime Minister …

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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