Social care is in crisis: it’s underfunded and does not reach everyone in need. Many people are refused to get help, although they need it desperately. Below we are raising just some concerns, but these are not all the problems that need to be addressed.
People with dementia are very often paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for their care. Very often they are spending their all-life savings to cover the costs of treating dementia. For many other long-term conditions, medical help is available free on the NHS. This unequal system where medical treatment for dementia is not covered by the NHS is called “dementia tax”.
Very recently Dame Barbara has written an open letter to our 77th UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The letter urges the Government to take appropriate actions on dementia care. This gesture is very significant, as she suffers from Alzheimer’s herself. In her open letter, Dame Barbara Windsor and her husband have said that many people with dementia are being let down by the system. The pair wants to make things fairer and to prevent the dementia sufferers missing out on care.
The system of support is simply unjust. Patients who have conditions such as cancer have care funded by the NHS. But with dementia, the sufferers must spend their life savings on care. The average outlay is typically around £100,000.
Unrealistic threshold of £30,000
Care workers from the EU are a great help for many seniors. And yet, there are plans to set a threshold of £30,000 for recruiting people from abroad. This means only workers that earn £30,000 can stay and work in the UK. This rule may decimate our care sector. Already there is a gap of about 90,000 between the number of care workers the country needs and the number of people working in the sector. And officially, about 20% of the social care workers come from abroad, out of which the majority from the EU. The actual number in live-in care sector is significantly higher. What is even more worrying, most caregivers in the care sector earn less than £30,000. It is highly probable that if the number of Europeans working in the UK social care sector falls drastically, the sector will suffer tremendously. Setting this unrealistic £30,000 threshold may lead to increased prices for care in private and social part of the sector.
Care deserts – a real problem for social care in the UK
There are some postcodes in the country lacking care possibilities – the so-called ‘care deserts’. For such places, having an option of self-paid, but still affordable live-in care would be a life-saver for many seniors. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many people have to look for places in care homes outside of their hometown.
No green paper in sight
The social care market in the UK is very complex and yet not properly regulated. To have the proper regulation in place, a proper regulatory document was to be written – a so called green paper. Unfortunately, there are no signs of this long-awaited document in sight. The green paper was first due to be issued in the summer of 2017, but its publication date has been delayed six times since then. The last known expected publication date was June 2019. And this last deadline was also not met.
The sector desperately needs a clear regulation and a real change of the social care sector in the UK.
Our concerns we have gathered together and sent a letter to the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care. We will be delighted if we receive a reply.