The new year brings huge new problems, such as how to deal with Brexit, but we should not forget some of the older issues we face.
One of these is social care at people’s homes or in residential settings for the growing number of old people.
The otherwise good news about us living longer is balanced by a growing crisis in social care.
Social care is being squeezed by cuts in local council spending and higher wage costs. A few hundred homes have already gone under with the loss of thousands of beds.
This, in turn, affects hospitals, where so-called ‘bed-blockers’ have to stay until social care is found for them.
Those who receive scant and inadequate care at their homes are also more likely, for instance, to break their hips, which costs much more than the simple care that could have prevented it in the first place.
Experts warn that the system is like a house of cards that could topple over anytime, that more homes will close, and many poor and vulnerable people face squalor.
There are no easy solutions to this and we really have to make sure it does not remain a political football for short-sighted political gain.
It is my opinion that previous attempts to find a long-term and cross-party solution were used by the Tories to make tactical hits.
We should integrate social care with the NHS and find a fair funding formula for the coming century. Parliament should focus on this.