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The 9 words on social care in the Queen’s Speech were not enough

George Coxon, author.

We were warned to manage our expectations regarding ‘fixing social care’ in the Queen’s Speech yesterday – and, it turned out, with good reason. I wrote an optimistic piece for Nursing in Practice yesterday – ever the optimist – thinking the Queen’s Speech provided the opportunity to tackle the social care crisis. But, as has happened so many times before, the proverbial can was kicked down the reform road for some time yet – despite the promises so often made. 

The nine words in the speech ‘proposals on social care reform will be brought forward’ leave us all no further forward to feeling any hope or confidence that a solution is on the horizon.  I will, however, not get ensnared or overwhelmed by negativity – it’s not a good headspace and it’s been so hard to avoid as we work endure the trials and tribulations of the last year and more.

I have already spoken to several trusted colleagues about the disappointment of the lack of commitment and timetable in the speech yesterday and will resist in my own narrative using words like complacency or cowardice but I do understand these words being uttered.

I listened to a great professional friend and hugely influential spokesperson for social care, Sally Warren, head of policy at the Kings Fund, on a radio phone in yesterday responding to the awfulness of the system when people so often are confronted in a crisis with the need of care for a loved one. I also heard two powerful and poignant conversations with worried daughters of their respective mums discussing the minefield of funding care for them.  Yesterday’s Government words will do little to assuage the distress and desperate unfairness bestowed on people like this, in the most frightening state imaginable.

The Daily Mail front page today asks the question we all must surely ask: when will they show they care?