IT goes without saying that Yorkshire councils are not primarily to blame for the social care crisis – the day-to-day pressures, and difficult decisions, are a legacy of austerity and an ageing society. Even Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, conceded this when he stood for the Tory leadership.
Regrettably, there is little prospect of any respite. Despite Boris Johnson promising to prioritise the issue on the steps of 10 Downing Street when he became Prime Minister, there’s still no sign – despite a vague commitment in this week’s Queen’s Speech – of the Government’s long-overdue Green Paper.
Yet, while town halls are in a totally invidious position when having to decide who is most deserving of care, it is also important that this process is transparent and that families have a right of appeal if loved ones are denied support.
The fact that just three councils – Barnsley, Hull and Kirklees – have such a process at present can mean people in other parts of the county having to wait for up to six months, according to new research, for any complaint to be investigated.
Given that the individuals concerned will be among the most vulnerable members of society, and the amount of heartache that the uncertainty can also cause to relatives, and also carers, all councils should be looking to speed up their appeal protocols.
One way would be to improve communication between care providers – and their clients. The problem is that this, too, takes time and money – commodities which will remain in scarce supply until Ministers face up to the scale and urgency of this escalating crisis.