Re-Modelling Social Care

October 1, 2017 10:09 AM
By Marko Scepanovic, Chair of Crawley Liberal Democrats

We often associate social care with looking after the elderly, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. A greater emphasis needs also to be placed on caring for those disabilities and specific vulnerabilities, alongside existing elderly care.

The onus is currently on families to look after those who have a disability or vulnerability, and this often comes with vast expense, particularly for poorer households. That can result in less opportunity and a lower quality of life for the individual with the disability and the family that devotes all their love and attention to giving the individual the best life possible.

There is a debate to be had about the role of government and how much it ought to intervene in people's daily lives, but social care is one area where greater intervention will be of assistance. In providing greater care for those with disabilities and vulnerabilities, the family themselves can have more freedom to have careers of their own, pursue higher levels of education, and most importantly, enjoy life with a greater sense of ease.

That's why the Liberal Democrat proposal to increase income tax by 1% for all brackets and invest it directly into the NHS and Social Care was a popular policy across the political spectrum. It provided much needed investment into an area which had so far been neglected by all governments.

Shifting the responsibility of care for elderly patients and those with disabilities away from the NHS and into a structured social care system, from cradle to grave, would ease the crises' we see in the NHS at the moment, and provide dedicated care to those who need it for the long term.

The Changing Places campaign in Crawley has helped highlight how simple measures by private and public organisations, through the introduction of toilets with greater accessibility, can help improve the quality of a day out for families.

If such simple measures can ease stress, then imagine what a structured social care system with tailored care for different needs can do. Such government intervention would require greater public expenditure, but it has the potential to transform the lives of millions across the UK, and provide people with the dignity, care and compassion they deserve.