Every year more than 1.8 million people approach our local councils for adult social care support. These services over the years have been subject to cuts and repeated underfunding has now taken a toll on the social care system, leading to what has now been described as a crisis point.
Richard Bacon investigates how the government can solve the problem once and for all and meets those who are being directly affected by the cuts.
Jan Wright from Norfolk has a 23 year old son Owen who was born with a condition called global developmental delay. He has the mental age of an 18 month old and also has brittle bone disease meaning he needs 24 hour care. Owen has seen many cuts to the services he accesses and without these activities his behaviour will gradually deteriorate. Unfortunately for Owen there’s a possibility that his care charges will be on the increase again next year.
The last person tasked with undertaking a major review of social care was Sir Andrew Dilnot. He reported back to the then coalition government eight years ago and whilst his recommendations for reform were well received he is still waiting for the changes to be made.
As things stand, in England if you have savings between just over 14,000 and just over 23,000 pounds your local council will contribute to part of your care costs. Any less and the council pays for your care, any more and you must fund it yourself, apart from care provided by a registered NHS nurse. North of the border however personal care - is free, no matter how much money you have and this is as a result of the tireless campaigning by Amanda Kopel.
Amanda’s husband Frank had a successful career as a footballer playing for Manchester United alongside George Best. Just before his 60th birthday Frank was diagnosed with vascular dementia and his health deteriorated rapidly, eventually Amanda needed to have carers come into the home. As Frank was under 65, and they had some savings, the Kopels were charged for this.
In order to raise money for his care Amanda and Frank made the difficult decision- to sell some of his football memorabilia, including his most prized possession: his Manchester United blazer. Their experience left Amanda determined to try to help others.
Amanda campaigned for years to get the law changed, and in April of this year she finally got her wish. Now in Scotland you can apply for free personal care in your home, no matter what your age. It’s called Frank’s Law.
So will our government follow suit? Only this week the Labour party pledged to bring in free personal care for the over 65’s. As for Boris Johnson’s plans- the government is remaining tight lipped for now. The Department for Health and Social Care told us they’ll be set out “in due course”.