UK health and care experts call for National Care Service at NPC emergency online summit
Updated: Oct 16
Link to the full NPC Older People’s Day Webinar on YouTube:
Leading health and care experts told how the Covid-19 pandemic has ‘accelerated’ the multiple problems facing the UK’s ailing care system at a special NPC webinar summit for Older People’s Day.
The National Pensioners’ Convention event (1st October 2020) brought the specialists together to discuss the NPC report, ‘Goodbye Cinderella: Time for A New Settlement for Care Services’ which calls for a fully funded, and free at the point of need National Care Service (NCS).
In a full and frank debate, the webinar panel of NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt, Professor David Oliver, Visiting Fellow at the King’s Fund and NHS consultant in Geriatrics and Acute General Medicine, and Dr Jean Hardiman-Smith, Chair of the NPC Health and Social Care Committee, led an impassioned discussion of the issues facing the care sector.
Professor Oliver – a working physician on the frontline of the fight against Covid, who wrote the Introduction to the NPC report, Goodbye Cinderella - summed up the views of many speakers on the impact of years of neglect suffered by the system.
He said: “The coronavirus pandemic has definitely accelerated some of the structural problems in the (care service) but it has also brought social care into sharp relief. It has tended to be out of sight out of mind, unless you find yourself having to use the service. So while most of the public have a decent understanding of what their GP does and what the local A & E does, it’s often a surprise to them to discover what social care does.
“And their shock often comes at times of great stress, when they are navigating the complexity and disjointedness between health and social care, and the fact that it is means tested and the fact that it is eligibility based and rationed, as opposed to free at point (of delivery) and based on need. Social care is in fact a Cinderella service – and (the neglect) goes well beyond care homes, which have been the biggest focus of media coverage recently.”
The speakers included: Nadra Ahmed OBE, Chair, National Care Association; Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive, Queen’s Nursing Institute; Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Veterans; Professor Dame June Clark, Professor Emeritus of Community Nursing, Swansea University and Board Member RCN Wales; Mary Robertson, Senior Policy Officer, TUC; Councillor Karen Kilgour, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Newcastle City Council; and Dr Arun Baksi, Emeritus Consultant Physician, St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight.
Thanking them for their full and frank contributions, NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt said: “I would sincerely like to thank them for their excellent contributions in laying bare the problems facing the care sector at a time of pandemic and with a growing and aging population.
“We invited the government’s health ministers – including Matt Hancock to attend – but they, as usual did not reply. Had they done so, they would have heard from the real experts in care in this country about the scale of the problems the sector faces, and more importantly, offered solutions as to how these issues might be resolved for the betterment of our entire population.”
The NPC, the UK’s largest campaigning organisation for retired people is concerned that reform of the ailing and disjointed care sector is being put on the back burner despite fresh demands on the system from the new spike in Covid-19.
The NPC fears the government’s decision to delay promised reform of the sector until next year will lead to even more of the UK’s oldest and most vulnerable losing their lives, and causing heartbreak to even more families.
The webinar discussed the NPC’s report, Goodbye Cinderella: A New Settlement for Care Services: Moving On From the Pandemic,’ produced by a working party of health and care experts chaired by Dr Jean Hardiman-Smith. The report calls for fundamental change now and provides a roadmap for creating a world-class National Care Service fit for one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Jan Shortt - NPC GS
Professor David Oliver
Mary Robertson - TUC
Sharon Hodgson MP
Dr Jean Hardinman-Smith - NPC Health & Care Working Party Chair
Nadra Ahmed - NCA