The Tories betray wilful ignorance in refusing to acknowledge that some adults need support all their lives – asking them to pay care costs is wrong
Much has been said about the Conservative manifesto pledges on social care and Theresa May’s subsequent U-turn, but one issue that has so far escaped scrutiny is the Tories’ strange assumption that social care is all about older people. This is despite the fact that around a third of those who need social care services are of working age [pdf].
Social care affects all adults who need support because of a disability or long-term health condition. This might include a learning disability, a physical disability or severe and enduring mental ill-health. The failure of the Conservative manifesto to acknowledge any of this gives the impression of a party that is wilfully ignorant of the nature of adult social care and its beneficiaries.
Related: The ‘dementia tax’ mess shows how little May thinks of disabled people | Frances Ryan
Related: Forget money – we need to rethink what social care should look like
How can we improve the lives of learning disabled people when even the prime minister muddles them up with those with mental health problems?
My daughter has learning difficulties. She was born with them 24 years ago and they will always be part of her life. Since they are at the most profound end of the spectrum and complicated by epilepsy she is unable to walk, talk or see. She needs full-time care and state support. But most importantly she is an adorable human being and a lively individual.
Since her birth I have endured mild bouts of depression along with deriving much joy, like many parents who finds their lives suddenly disrupted by birth of a child with disabilities. The temporary slumps have not been too destabilising. Other people suffer far more severe mental health problems. Thankfully, society is starting to show more appreciation of their conditions with growing support from all political parties.
Related: Looking for work with a learning disability: ‘You feel like a failure’
Small community organisations and social enterprises could form an efficient, cost-effective support system for adults
An unexpected effect of cuts to council budgets, and the ensuing crisis in support services for adults and older people, is that the public is starting to understand for the first time what social care for adults actually is. The challenge now is for us to imagine what it could be.
In March, the government announced a green paper in response to the overwhelming evidence that the way we support older and disabled people is neither working nor affordable. Fewer people are getting support, care providers are leaving the sector and handing back contracts to councils, and hospitals are filling up with older people who have no medical reason to be there.
Related: Social care green paper is an opportunity too important to be missed | Peter Beresford
Related: How we can start a social care revolution in seven easy steps | Katie Johnston
Law Commission study, laid before parliament, reveals growing strain on already overburdened care system
Tens of thousands of vulnerable people with dementia and learning disabilities are being detained unlawfully in hospitals and care homes across Britain, the Law Commission has said.
Replacing the “administrative and bureaucratic nightmare” system of deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) would speed up checks and allow care workers to concentrate on those most at risk, the legal study recommends.