Great concern over social care

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You’re going to hear much more about the choices in major policy areas over the next nine months as we near the general election.

An area of great concern to many readers is that of social care.

The good thing is that more of us are living longer than we used to, but this brings new problems.

Increasing numbers of older and disabled people are finding it harder to get the vital services that help them get up, washed, dressed and fed.

For instance, thousands of people have been denied essential home adaptations such as handrails, ramps and stair lifts.

These reduce the dangers of broken bones, which are harder to mend as you get older and which, in turn, means staying in hospital for longer.

There are now far fewer district nurses and community matrons.

Such fixtures and staff allow older and disabled people to stay living independently at home.

Cutting social care to the bone doesn’t save money if it forces frail older people into A&E, or traps them in more

expensive hospital beds because a lack of social care means it isn’t safe to discharge them back into their homes.

An integrated health and care system prevents people’s needs escalating, supports them in the right way in the community and keeps them out of hospital.

Joined up services also reduce waste and inefficiency.

This vision will not be easily or quickly achieved but the first step is to choose to aim for it.