Social care has been in the news recently and we suspect it will continue to dominate headlines, at least, for the foreseeable future.
But what does “social care” actually mean? Well, that’s the first obstacle right there. It’s hard to provide a clear cut definition, and certainly not within this blog post. One of the reasons that it’s so difficult to define is that social care is very wide and can encompass a lot of things – from child protection issues to applications to the Court of Protection.
The local government’s social services department has responsibility for administering publicly funded social care as set out by Parliament. They provide information and advice, assess and monitor needs, and provide services where appropriate. However, their ability to do so is determined by funding received from the central government. This often creates an imbalance between legislation and implementation.
In recent years, the Government has overseen significant cuts to local government funding. This has resulted in the social care crisis whereby elderly patients are left stranded in hospital due to chronic delays in sourcing adequate home care as well as vulnerable children and young people who are slipping through the cracks.
With a steady rise in population levels, coupled with an increase in life expectancy, the social care system is becoming crippled under this strain.
One of the ways to address growing concerns has been outlined by the Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who has set out the Government’s proposals to reform care and support in the much anticipated green paper due to be published this summer. Although the paper has been met with some criticism from opposition parties and voluntary sector bodies, it presents a golden opportunity for the Government to reform the adult social care system.
Whether they seize this opportunity, only time will tell.
This blog has been prepared on 16th May 2018 by Lizan Ghafoor, a Solicitor at MTG Solicitors.