Residential Forum member Gillian Daley:
The ‘problem of social care’ is currently perceived to be a problem
of funding. As such, the funding question dominates policy-thinking and
public debate. The central concern of this article, however, is broader.
It focuses on the essential nature of social care, particularly its
structure, quality and sectoral location – in addition to funding.
Key points about current social care:
- Social care is almost entirely provided by the private sector, for profit.
- Private provision means the whim of the market determines
distribution, type and quality. This results in patchy distribution,
flourishing in some wealthy areas, shortages in others, with widespread
evidence of unmet needs, poor quality of care and lamentable employment
- Unlike care and treatment in the NHS, social care is not free at
the point of use. Individuals requiring social care (as noted, almost
all privately provided), are means tested. [In England] those with assets over
£23,250 are disqualified from receiving it free.
argues the case for bringing social care into the public sector to remedy these failings.