A CIVILISED society is supposed to be judged by its treatment of the most vulnerable. On social care, this country is clearly failing the elderly because successive governments have not recognised the system’s frailties.
A day after Dr Sarah Wollaston, chairman of Parliament’s health select committee, released a scathing letter accusing the Government of misleading the public over the scale of NHS spending, a separate report now reveals the extent to which carers – and women in particular – are being taken for granted. Not only is it female family members who are predominantly expected to look after older relatives, but there is also a preponderance of women in paid care roles where salaries, traditionally low at the best of times, invariably don’t keep pace with rises in the cost of living.
It cannot go on like this. As The Yorkshire Post has said in the past, carers are not commodities – they invariably represent the very best of human kindness and compassion. According to the PSA Commission on Care, there are now one million older people with health needs that are not being met by the public sector – one million people who are either too proud to ask for help, have been denied assistance because of cuts or have no relatives to support them. How many reports, and avoidable deaths, will it take before Ministers act? This has become a national emergency and politicians need to devote as much time to social care as they are spending on Brexit.