A bold starting point for a crucial conversation about care

Doteveryone’s response to ‘Fixing the Care Crisis’ —the new report from the Centre for Policy Studies by Damian Green MP.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash. Adapted by James Barclay.

Fixing the Care Crisis’, a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies, by Damian Green MP, provides a welcome starting point for a bold and radical conversation of the level of ambition needed to address a challenge of this scale.

But there are also significant issues. For a start, the proposed funding changes only bring in £2.75 billion. This falls far too short.

We disagree with the choice to focus solely on the needs of older adults. While the growing needs of the older population capture the majority of headlines, currently the majority of councils social care spending is actually directed at the needs of disabled working-age adults and children. As the report itself indicates, age is not a direct predictor of need; one in four older adults require no care at all. Ill health and disability impact us at different times in our lives- they are not the predictable and inevitable effect of age.

While statistically, we are likely to accrue more conditions as we age, as healthy lifespans get longer and we combat ageism, and adapt society to suit different means of working and participating in civic life, the division between the needs of those under and over 65 will appear increasingly arbitrary.

We should instead be focusing on building a system supports everyone, no matter their age, to thrive.

The proposal to nationalise the care system provides an opportunity to resolve differences in processes and services by different councils and so make the system fairer and more transparent. This change should be accompanied by efforts to regularise data collection processes and make it easier to connect information about health and social care. This would help build an evidence base for the whole-system impact of cuts, changes, and innovations.

Implemented well, a more transparent and less fragmented system could help users make more informed choices, make it easier to identify inequalities and errors and could support successful interventions and innovations to scale and spread.

Nationalising would end the councils’ incentives to reject applications for new care and retirement home applications out of fear of their associated care costs. If implemented carefully and in consultation with communities, this could remove some of the existing barriers for community and grassroots-driven experiments in shared and cooperative living to get off the ground.

Despite the concerns raised above we have real hope that this statement will move the conversation about care forward, paving the way towards a more sustainable, effective and fair care system.

Better Care Systems

Doteveryone is exploring how we can build better and fairer care systems in a future of robots, automation and smart technology.

Throughout the Better Care Systems project, we’re asking carers, technologists, activists, and people who use care services, (and many who fall under more than one of these too-limiting labels) to imagine new futures of care in which the system is fairer, more sustainable and more effective.

We’re thinking holistically about care, exploring its role in the social infrastructure of many different aspects of people’s lives — not just in the paid social care sector, or for the elderly.

Want to get involved?

Contact us via [email protected].

And to stay informed on the general progress of this work, make sure you sign up for updates. (We won’t use this more than once a month).

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A bold starting point for a crucial conversation about care was originally published in Doteveryone on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.