Adult Social Care Services - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:43 am on 6th July 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Wheeler Baroness Wheeler Opposition Senior Whip (Lords) 11:43 am, 6th July 2017

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for repeating the Answer, but once again the Government seem to be in complete denial about the reality of the situation facing us in social care. A year ago, the Care Quality Commission first warned that social care could be approaching a tipping point. Today, Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, has said that,

“the danger of adult social care approaching its tipping point has not disappeared. If it tips, it will mean even more poor care, less choice and more unmet need for people”.

Why have the Government neglected to tackle the issues facing our social care sector and failed to give it the money it needs? This report highlights safety concerns in one in four care homes. Age UK described choosing a care home as Russian roulette. Does the Minister believe that it is acceptable to force people to take these kinds of risks with their loved ones?

According to the Care Quality Commission report, 4,000 fewer nursing-home beds are now open than in March 2015. Is the Minister concerned about this drop, and what actions is he taking to ensure that there are enough nursing home beds for those who need them and enough nurses to staff them?

This week marked the sixth anniversary of the Dilnot commission report into social care. The Government accepted the commission’s recommendations; they legislated for them; and they announced that the cap on personal funding would be £72,000, after which the state would intervene. Why did the Government abandon all that in favour of their ill-fated dementia tax? Why are this Government no closer to finding a solution for funding social care? Can the Minister tell the House why his Government have wasted seven years and failed to take any action to solve the social care crisis?