Ministers have continued to infuse millions of pounds into the NHS, meanwhile failing to make significant progress in tackling the social care crisis that continues to affect millions of vulnerable people. In a recently announced White Paper, the Government promised an additional £1.7 billion to improve care services – only to reduce this amount to £600 million.
This proposal comes with mounting criticism from those in the sector, including policy director of the Kings Fund think tank Sally Warren, who has expressed frustration over what she calls ‘a massive retreat from what was already bare minimum first steps’. In addition, the sector is struggling to maintain its staff as the costs of living and struggles to retain employees remain high.
The promises of the government-led by Boris Johnson – to repair this system fails short, while the NHS continues to be extensively funded. As summarised in Jeremy Hunt’s book, Zero, this is a case in point of how a vulnerable woman had to struggle for seven months to stay in a hospital before her eventual death in a care home, costing the state an unnecessary £300 a night.
This puts into perspective the importance of tackling social care, especially as there are current unresolved backlogs in the NHS treatment system. The continuous outcome of broken promises by Britain’s politicians has led to a huge lack of trust, highlighting the utter neglect of members of our society.
The Independent Care Group has described the decision to slash funding promised to develop their care workforce as ‘cruel’ and ‘short-sighted’, calling for ‘every penny of funding’. This is backed by The Nuffield Trust, who have argued that this is yet another example of ‘ill-judged raid on a social care system already on the brink.’
Jeremy Hunt, who was recently made Chancellor, had previously highlighted his regret regarding his 6-year tenure as health secretary, in not being able to fully tackle the social care system. As the person in charge of state spending, it is now pressing for Hunt to fulfill his earlier promises to improve the lives of Britains most vulnerable citizens, by making sure that the government’s warm words are translated into action.
Apart from the company and people mentioned in the article, this also provides an opportunity for a word about the National Illness Service which calls for a greater focus on preventing poor health, as well as reforming GP surgeries in order to make sure that the NHS is more than just a national illness service.