You would hope this is an isolated incident, but, unfortunately it is not, for actions of this nature will be happening throughout the UK on a regular basis, so what is going wrong.
Social Care is an essential service, which, although administered through Local Authorities, (LAs), includes elements of health care within the banner of Social Care.
Social Care is funded from LA budgets, and the LAs receive a bulk of their own funding from Central Government under the LA grant. But due to 10 years of Tory austerity cuts to all LAs, where going on at least 50% of LA funding has been withdrawn and this has been further compounded by additional costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While, to some extent Social Care was shielded from cuts, the size of the cuts, meant that sooner or later, Social Care had to take on its share of reduced funding.
This is coupled, by the fact that Social Care has never been sufficiently funded, thereby the provision of Social Care has never been fully provided, leaving many persons with care needs with insufficient care, or none at all. With all the Government cuts, this has only made the insufficiency of Social Care even greater. but, any aspect of under provision of Social Care, will, eventually, have some bearing on increased demand for health care.
Due to an increasing aging UK population, increasing numbers of persons coming through with longer term or life long disabilities and also living longer, but not as long as persons without disabilities, see LeDeR and other, the need for Social Care is forever increasing, while the funding has been reducing. A situation which is not feasible on a long-term basis, and also not on a short-term basis also.
LAs are therefore looking continually to minimise the need and provision of Social Care to those in need. For some years ago moderate needs would have been covered, but now, moderate needs may not be, as in many instances only significant and complex needs are considered. This process can and does mean, that at times significant and complex needs are missed, which could have been so, in the case of Calderdale, whether by design or error, this is against the requirements of the Care Act 2014. However, due to the complexities around Social Care, not every situation may come to light, initially, meaning referrals to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, or Judicial Reviews may not be proceeded with in the short-term, thereby creating a substantial time to correct any issues. Also, before taking these actions a Formal Complaint has to be made to the respected authority.
However, lack of or insufficient Social Care, is but one problem of many, foreven where Social Care is agreed, there could well be problems, around its quality, its consistency and other aspects. For there are good and not so good Service providers and also carers.
While problems with quality, consistency and other aspects are monitored by the Care Quality Commission and also in-house Local Government monitoring departments, not all are monitored sufficiently and in many instances the persons receiving care, the persons family and others, may not always come forward to complain for numerous reasons. Some of which could be, unawareness or understanding of complaints procedures, poor past experience on making complaints, even threats by Care Providers to withdraw care should a complaint be made, or even mentioned, and many others.
Other problems within Social Care will include, the insufficiency of persons prepared to undertake work in Social Care, especially when the rate of pay is taken into account, some of which may be only the National Living Wage, although some may receive a rate near or above the Real Living Wage.
These are just some of the problems relating to Social Care and its provision, but there are many others.
This UK Government and many previous UK Governments have promised reviews into Social Care, but to date nothing has been undertaken to any degree if at all.
In no way can Social Care be allowed to continue in its present form and especially with regards to its funding, so we all need to do what we can to expedite these issues. One way could be to support the petition, Solve the crisis in Social Care, https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care.
Should further information be required this can be found here.