By 2030 the predicted number of older and disabled people with social care needs will grow to over 7 million. Demand for hospital beds and end of life care will both increase dramatically.
The current system we have in place won’t be able to handle the predicted demographic change. Indeed, “Social care crisis” is a phrase best used to describe what is coming. In spite of this, social care remains a low priority issue for the Coalition government. We need a wholesale re-think of the way social care is structured in the UK; if we do not respond to the coming changes, we will truly have a crisis on our hands.
Over the past year the Young Fabian Health network, has been exploring the different ways we can respond to the health needs of the elderly and disabled. In March, the Health Network joined Andy Burnham MP at the House of Commons for a discussion on the future of social care policy. We looked at the specific ways in which Labour could respond and possible policies that could be implemented. One of the key ideas that came from the event is giving the NHS greater responsibility for social care. This could begin with handing NHS Trusts control over end of life care, shifting the burden from the individual to the state while simultaneously promoting further integration between personal at-home carers and the public health service.
Following this event, the Health Network started working on a social care policy output, a document that will present our ideas and vision on the future of social care. In turning ideas into policy, we have harnessed the views of both members and experts to show that the Young Fabians can be a real force for good within the Labour party.
A steering committee, composed entirely of Young Fabian members, meets once a month to decide the activity of the Health Network . Membership is open to all Young Fabians. I chair this committee and we are currently planning our next series of events. If you want to have a say in the direction of the network, please feel free to come along to one of our meetings. If you want to find out more, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Edobor is Chair of the Young Fabian Health Network