Yet this is not a time for complacency. Quite the opposite. This is in spite of recurring financial pressures, repeated delays to the Government’s promised policy paper on social care and fears that staff shortages, already chronic, could be exacerbated by a no-deal Brexit if exemptions are not made for migrants willing to work in this sector.
And it is, therefore, unsurprising that the quality of provision has deteriorated in more than a third of local authorities according to a report released by the Care Quality Committee just two days after Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, a Local Government Minister, told Parliament that the Government “will soon outline its Green Paper and a longer-term sustainable settlement”.
Given that this was first promised nearly two years ago – and that the Green Paper was supposed to have been published by last Autumn – his words will offer scant comfort to all those who remain exercised by the Government’s inertia and inaction on this issue.
Not only are they deeply frustrated by the uncertainty, but more needs to be done to ensure that there is proper recourse when standards of care do, for whatever reason, fall short of the high standards that the elderly – and those unable to look after themselves – should expect, and receive, as a matter of routine.
This was highlighted by the harrowing speech to Parliament last month by Labour backbencher Rosena Allin-Khan over the catalogue of injuries sustained by her father at a council-run care home in London where he is treated for dementia. If educated MPs who know how the system works cannot use their office, and status, to get satisfactory answers, what hope is there for everyone else?