Recent research by Independent Age has shown the scale of the problem that we as a society face. In some Local Authorities, for example across the North East of England, almost half of all residential care homes are rated ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’, leaving thousands of older people receiving substandard care.
Independent Age is campaigning to make the UK the best country in the world to grow older in. That’s why we partnered up with the TRG at Conservative Party Conference to explore how we can Do Care Differently. Along with Nicky Morgan MP, Jeremy Lefroy MP, George Freeman MP and representatives from across local government, healthcare and the charity sector, we discussed ways to tackle some of the biggest obstacles to every older person getting good care.
But that conversation isn’t over. Later this year, Independent Age will publish a pamphlet entitled Doing Care Differently, drawing together contributions from a diverse range of thought leaders and experts in care. Our work shows clearly that it doesn’t have to be this way, and sets out some of the solutions to the crisis.
For this Government, social care will continue to be a pressing concern. Independent Age is campaigning to ensure that the long-awaited Green Paper is a starting point for the real reform that older people, their families and carers need. Doing Care Differently demonstrated that we need to step beyond simply debating how we pay for care, and among other issues, focus on the quality of that care and how it is delivered.
With the TRG, we hoped to identify some of the political obstacles to social care reform. Whilst this Government is focussed on delivering Brexit, domestic policy issues such as social care still need to be confronted and properly addressed. In the context of this Parliament, building a consensus is key and Independent Age will continue to advocate for a cross-party approach. Our polling of MPs after the General Election showed that only one in four MPs saw social care services in their constituency as fit for purpose, and almost 90% viewed cross-party consensus as necessary for a lasting settlement on health and social care.
What is clear from our work with the TRG, from our project Doing Care Differently, and from what we hear every day from older people is that the time for action is now. If the UK is to become the best country in the world to grow older, we must start getting the basics right. The Government’s Green Paper must recognise that and be the start of a permanent shift in the way we support people as they grow older. Without that happening, there is a real risk that more older people will slip through the gaps in the system.
The Tory Reform Group partnered with Independent Age at the Conference in Manchester