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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Cuts make care unsustainable

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The following was published in The Star

A recent survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services warns that our social care system is becoming unsustainable. We need urgent action to ensure that vulnerable people can continue to access the care services they need.

The impact of the cuts is clear one constituent has had her care package cut from 24 to just 6 hours per day. Others are concerned about the changes to learning disabilities services, bringing uncertainty and worry.

Local Authorities have faced a 26% cut in their budgets in the past four years to their care departments totalling 3.52 billion. This while there is an escalating demand for services, particularly for older people.

Why is the care system suffering like this?

Earlier this year the government passed the Care Act to modernise and reform the current care system. Its remit is wide ranging and aims impressive.

However the Act was not accompanied by fresh investment. This at a time when there is already a funding gap in adult social care amounting to 1.9 billion.

The much acclaimed Better Care Fund to integrate health and social care services is an example no new money but a pooling of existing resources. Top slicing existing budgets will not pull social care back from the brink.

Wider change is needed to save the social care system from collapse, old ways of working will not do.  

Government need to take a holistic approach and value the ‘low level’ care often provided by family. If we continue to ignore the needs of those with mild to moderate requirements their needs will grow and become substantial, putting the system under greater strain.

In Lowedges in my constituency there is an innovative ‘Integrated Service Project’. It brings together housing, social care, voluntary, community and faith sectors to work with people helping them remain independent for as long as possible.

Taking this integrated and preventative approach works. It reduces and delays the requirement for critical social care. Unfortunately the existing care system is built on critical care meaning innovative projects will be cut first.

If we want our social care system to survive, we cannot continue to give it new responsibilities with one hand, and take resources away with the other.

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