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Care fit for the 21st Century

Yesterday Liz Kendall Shadow Minister for Care and Older People came to hear from residents about what more a Labour government could do on social care.

We heard first-hand how Terry Spring Court support their residents and the wider community.

Madge, Pat, Terry, Sandi & Graham shared their concerns about cuts to social care budgets that leave people less independent and there was agreement about older people fearing becoming unwell, going to hospital or receiving care.

liz_kendall800.pngThis is not good enough. We should look forward to retirement not fear it.

In Redditch older people are getting stuck in hospital because it takes too long to organise care. This is costing our hospital trust £6 million last year and more often than not the older person would rather be at home.

I believe that growing old should be a positive and fulfilling experience and that no-one should fear old age because of worries about their living standards, or be left to struggle alone caring for a loved one.

The disinvestment in social care by the Conservative led coalition Government, which has had more than £1bn pulled out of the sector since 2011, is a false economy, because the burden of caring for elderly people shifts to the NHS. The leading charity Age UK estimated last year that nearly 1 million people in England between the age of 65 and 89 have unmet social care needs.

Labour know too many older people today are worried about how they will ensure decent living standards in old age, and about how they and their family will manage when they need extra care.

Our social care system is close to collapse with 300,000 fewer older people getting vital care services compared to 2010, and many older people often receiving care visits limited to just 15 minutes — and provided by a workforce that is too often undervalued.

Labour will ensure older people’s living standards are protected, and that they get the care and support they deserve:

  • We will keep the triple-lock on the state pension so that pensioner incomes increase by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.
  • We will restrict winter fuel payments for the richest five per cent of pensioners but guarantee no changes beyond this — to the winter fuel payment, free TV licenses, or free bus passes.
  • We will reform the private pensions market so that all pension providers have a fiduciary duty to put savers first.
  • We will keep the flexibility over how to access your pension savings that came into place this April, but we need to ensure that savers get a good deal. That is why we will cap fees and charges in financial products that savers use to draw down their pension savings, and we will ensure that proper guidance is available to ensure that savers are not ripped off, or hit by scams and miss-selling.
  • We will end time-limited, 15-minute visits, introducing ‘year of care’ budgets to incentivise better care in the home.
  • We will recruit 5,000 new homecare workers — a new arm of the NHS — to help care for those with the greatest needs at home.
  • We will create new rights to receive care in the home. Our plans include supporting more people to remain at home at the end of their life if they wish, including those who are terminally ill with the greatest care needs.
  • We will introduce a system of safety checks to identify risks facing vulnerable older people and enable preventative measures to be put in place, such as grab-rails to prevent falling.
  • Vulnerable older people, disabled people and those with complex needs will get a single point of contact for their care and a personal care plan designed with them and shaped around their needs.


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