YP Comment: When is a crisis not a crisis?
The evidence suggests otherwise. Tory controlled Surrey County Council contemplated raising taxes by 15 per cent, Sheffield City Council is joining other town halls and endorsing the three per cent hike proposed in the Autumn Statement and the nation is reeling from the harrowing case of a helpless dementia sufferer forced to spend six months in hospital because there were no care home places available in the community.
It’s not just the treatment for older people that has left the NHS facing intolerable pressures this winter – half of local authorities do not have sufficient childcare places when plans to double the free hours available to pre-schoolers comes into force, later this year. And this in a country where the tax burden is set to reach a 30-year high according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. If Mr Javid doesn’t think Britain is facing a care crisis, he’s even more out of touch than his cavalier demeanour would suggest.
A day after Mr Javid said there was no excuse for NHS hospitals not working with social care sector to assist the elderly, a damning National Audit Office report warns that plans to integrate these services by 2020 are behind schedule and not achieving the intended benefits. Not only did the Better Care Fund fail to realise projected savings of £511m, but emergency admissions to hospital rose by 87,000 when they were forecast to reduce by 106,000. Either Mr Javid accepts responsibility or he finds alternative employment. It’s his call.