I have set up an online petition calling for a Cabinet level Minister to be appointed for Social Care (click here) which I hope you will sign and which I hope you will pass on to friends and colleagues.
Around one in five of the population is affected by the decisions made by Government on Social Care and given that such a large portion of the country is involved it seems only right that they should have the appropriate representation at the highest level.
I say around 1 in 5 because the figure is hard to estimate and it could well be higher. Carers UK estimate that there are 6.4 million people in the UK providing unpaid care for loved ones (details here) and, naturally, there are a similar amount being cared for. The latest figures from the NHS Information Centre state that there are 1.4 million people in England receiving local authority funded care services, although this figure does not include those receiving continuing care funding from the NHS, additionally these figures are for England only, so the number is increased when the other countries are taken into account. They are then increased further by the unrecorded numbers who fund their own care services.
In addition, the latest figures from Skills for Care tell us that there are 1.6 million paid workers in adult social care. So, in a Nation that has a population of 62 million, one in five may well be a conservative estimate.
At present Social Care is presided over by a junior minister within the Department of Health and, whilst there is no doubt a strong link between health and social care, this fails to encompass the greater range of social care requirements of the people that need social care services.
Social Care is not a homogenous service. It includes services for the elderly, for those with learning disabilities, those with mental health issues or those with physical disabilities, yet, at present all these services are the responsibility of a junior minister.
Social care also encompasses much more than just health services, it includes housing issues, benefit payments, community issues, for those under the age of 65 employment services come into the equation.
As the population ages social care will be a greater part of life with even more people either using or providing services. It is time now for Government to fully recognise social care as a major part of social policy in this country and appoint a Minister to the Cabinet to take responsibility for it.
The e-petition link again - http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39701 I hope you will take the time to sign it and that you will spread the word to your colleagues and friends