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........even if they are one of the very small number of people the system will be able to accommodate in future.
This conversation with Carey Bloomer of Marches Care and Lynne Bowers, a workforce specialist working with IEWM and West Midlands ADASS started on familiar ground - the shortage of people entering social care, and the stresses and strains that prompt care workers to leave and find other work.
Negative perceptions (and realities) around pay and status are key issues, and solutions discussed include better access to training, technology to free staff to focus on people, and the (estimated 30%) pay hike needed to give parity with NHS staff.
The conversation then developed into a discussion about the need to change widely-held attitudes to social care among the general population, and to engage everyone with the realities of their own likely future responsibilities from caring for others.
As Lynne points out, when the current social care regime came in, at the same time as the NHS in 1948, it replaced the Poor Law. But with taxation set a current levels and the increase in the older population, the state will not be able to meet the aspiration of cradle-to-grave health and social care in the way it once did.
The future is about enabling families to learn how to care, and supporting them with technology as residential care becomes an option only for the most physically and mentally incapacitated.
As our panel agreed, this is a positive message, despite politicians’ reluctance to deliver it.