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Social Care

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:14 pm on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care) 4:14 pm, 25th February 2020

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. The only way that we will see real change is if the Government put in funding to provide the housing and support needed for those people currently trapped in inappropriate institutions. I first raised this issue with the Secretary of State in October 2018, citing the case of a young autistic woman called Bethany. It took 14 months before Bethany was moved out of a seclusion cell and into a more supported environment. Now we have, as my hon. Friend has said, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission launching a legal challenge against the Department for its failure to move those 2,200 autistic people and people with learning disabilities out of those inappropriate units.

We must see action on this issue, because it is a national scandal. We need to see reform so that more people can get the care they need, rather than being left to struggle on alone. Even when people are able to access publicly funded care, there is no guarantee that it will be of acceptable quality. Last year, one in six social care services was rated by the Care Quality Commission as “inadequate” or “requires improvement”. That can mean care homes that are so unclean that residents are at risk of picking up infections. It can mean home care agencies that have not even carried out basic checks on their staff, or home care staff being so rushed that they do not have the time to take off their coats during a visit.

Twenty per cent of councils in England and Wales still commission 15-minute care visits. That is clearly not long enough to provide care. It is not long enough to get to know someone and support them to do the things that they want to do.