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Social care must be ‘more prominent’ in election debate

Social care must be ‘more prominent’ in election debate

Political parties across England have been urged to ‘talk more’ about adult social care as part of their election campaigns.

A statement signed by more than 40 social care organisations, highlighted the ‘importance of recognising the role social care plays at every level of society’ and argued this was not ‘as prominent as it should be’ in debates.

The message came in a statement signed by figures including chief executive of the National Care Forum, Vic Rayner, chief executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green, and senior vice chairman of the Local Government Association, councillor Kevin Bentley

The signatories outlined how they are ‘bound together by a common desire to see a step change in the way that adult social care and support is understood, talked about, championed and prioritised at the national political level’.

They warned discussions around social care typically presented a service that is ‘broken down and in need of fixing’ or were limited to narrow questions about ‘who pays for social care?’ or ‘how can social care help reduce hospital waiting lists?’

Whilst acknowledging these questions as ‘important’ the statement also warned that such questions failed to articulate ‘the true value of care and support’ within the sector.

The organisations explained that ‘when resourced adequately and organised well, social care is the means through which adults of all ages, with different conditions and reasons for drawing on care, are able to live their best life’.

And they called upon national party leaders as ‘the figureheads’ of their parliamentary candidates to ‘talk more about adult social care in the remaining weeks of the election campaign’.

It concluded: ‘In closing, the one ask we do make here is to engage with people who draw on care and support as equals.

‘As experts in what does and doesn’t work for them.

‘Their insights are just as illuminating and just as important as those of the politicians and professionals who work across the sector. Work with people, not just for them.’

It added: ‘We all want to live in the place we call home, with the people and things we love, in communities where we look out for each other, doing the things that matter to us. That’s the social care future we seek.’

All parties have been setting out their social care pledges in manifesto’s launched ahead of the general election on July 4.

The Conservative Party has said it will implement reforms to cap social care costs, with plans to take forward the reforms in the ‘People at the Heart of Care’ White Paper.

Labour has committed to undertaking a programme of reform to create a ‘National Care Service’, prioritising a ‘home first’ approach with new national standards for adult social care.

Last week Wes Streeting, shadow health and social care secretary, also stressed the need to regard social care ‘as a profession’ at an event attended by Nursing in Practice.

The Liberal Democrats has said it will create a ‘National Care Agency’ to set national minimum standards of care, with further plans to introduce free personal care so that some care costs are covered by the state.

Separately, earlier this year Nursing in Practice launched its Manifesto for General Practice Nursing in 2024 – outlining actions needed on workforce, pay and conditions, long-term conditions, health inequalities, mental health and wellbeing, and the digital agenda.

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