Friday 20 September 2013

Im off to the Tory Conference please share your #CareStories #CareIdeas

Finally I have some time to write this - it's been a busy few months.

I am off to the Tory conference next week as part of the Leonard Cheshire Access all Areas scheme. Putting personal political feeling aside I'm both excited to go away, I love adventures and new experiences, and full of trepidation as I know I will be exhausted and it won't be easy changing minds or even opening them up.

I have chosen to focus on Social Care only - other amazing women Kali Franklyn and Steff Bensted are focusing on Welfare reform.

So why Social Care? In part the timing is good as the Care & Support Bill is working its way through parliament at the moment - it goes to the commons in mid October.
You can read some fact sheet here: Fact sheets

If you receive social care or think you need it this bill is massively important. I'm focusing on three things:

1. Lowering the proposed National threshold from Substantial/Critical to Moderate. Currently every single council with a social care department can decide what level to set its threshold at - threshold being the line you need to cross to get care. Many are setting the bar so high its a council of last resort.

The national threshold would mean all councils have to use the same criteria at the same level - so far so good, but it's still too high.
Im arguing that if we have a moderate needs national threshold it will: 

-Save money in the long run as many will need small awards often less than £10K a year and can maintain their independence at that so they don't fall into boom and bust cycles of ever more expensive care needs.

-Particularly for people with mental ill health a small ongoing package of support could mean the difference between coping and not in fact for some may lead to recovery, rather than the ever present fear of falling off the cliff edge - I'm talking three hours a week to make sure shopping is done, paper work sorted etc. Not even the level of "true independent living

-Be an investment in working aged disabled people that would enable them to make choices about how they lived their life from volunteering, studying, working, bringing up kids what ever - if they are unable to get much needed support then all those aspirations are just that aspirations - Yes if people had moderate support the different to their lives and that of loved ones would be massive. Let's not forget unpaid carers in here.

I could go on but you get the picture I'm sure - so please reply below and share your Care Ideas - If you have tried and failed to get care due to thresholds being too high, what would a small award of say 10 hours a week of enable you to do? What difference would it make?

My second thing to talk to people about is portability of care: Something Baroness Jane campbell has lobbied hard for - Basically if like me you might want to move but have finally sorted a fairly OK package of care and support the idea of moving even to the next town a pretty horrific idea because it means:
  1. A new assessment and you might lose all the current support because of different rules see my first argument. 
  2. The transition from one place to another is bound to fail, not get sorted in time, be a nightmare or all three and you might then lose the great new job, not get your house, miss deadline for school all sorts of things you don't think about if you don't need care.
So the portability of care idea could be guaranteed:

-You keep same level of care paid for by authority you were in before your move for 3 months until new assessment can be done.

I totally agree with Jane on this and while she withdrew her amendment - it is something we need.

What opportunities have you turned down because you feared losing the support you already have, would not be offered somewhere else, or if you did move whats been your experience?

I won't have long with anyone - I want to change the narrative to talk about social care as an investment in people, how working age disabled people should not be lumped in with older people, who let's face it have very different needs. I'm not taking away from those needs, simply recognising as a 43 year old woman I have different needs. 

Lastly and it's very personal I blogged about it recently - dignity in care, how investment in social care goes beyond the person, it's about investment in the massive industry. 
-Zero hour contracts
-Ever changing staff
-15 minute care visits
-Not paying for travel time 
-Little beyond statutory training for care workers
I could go on I have to pick and choose so again
Please share with me your Care stories, Your care ideas. The more personal I make the story the more impact it might have. I will also if I have time make some little postcards with some quotes on them and leave them around bars etc. 
Leave a comment for me on this blog and share it as widely as you can.
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