In the Queen’s Speech this year, the Government devoted a mere nine words to social care, despite the Prime Minister promising he will “fix the crisis in social care once and for all ... with a clear plan we have prepared” as he took office in the summer of 2019. We’re still waiting for it to appear.
I spoke in the debate on the Queen’s Speech, which covers the Government’s agenda for the next year, and urged Ministers to publish their plans and start the reforms that the sector so desperately needs. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the crisis in social care, but the failure of the system has been clear for a long time. In developing a new approach, we must have real ambition, as we did in establishing the NHS, with an entirely new model and not just tinkering with payment mechanisms.
We should take the same approach to those who work in the system, raising the status of carers to that of other healthcare professionals, and training them, supporting them and, crucially, paying them in a way that reflects the critical nature of their work.
As a Patron of Sheffield Young Carers Group and an Ambassador for Sheffield Carers’ Centre, I also made the case for the strategy for social care to properly recognise and support those who devote so much of their lives to providing unpaid care for family members.