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Social Care

January 18, 2012

A letter to the papers –

Dear Editor

Independent Social Services?

As you are well aware there is plenty of debate around Adult Social Care and related issues right now – how to fund it, how best to provide services, how to ensure consistent quality of provision across the country (and even across the county!), etc.?

In my mind Social Care should not be part of council service provision. Social care provision is not a council service in the same way as other things are council services. Social care is a human rights issue. It is our human right to be out of bed, dressed, working, in education, and out in the community, the same as it is everyone else’s right to do these things.

Imagine if a non-disabled, or a younger person, was put to bed by the council at 7pm every night, because it was a convenient time for the council rather than the wish of the person? (This happens in many Local Authority areas).

Imagine if a non-disabled or younger person was left in soiled clothes all night long – not because they were incontinent, but because there was no money to be able to provide a person to change their night wear if a change was needed. (This is a court case that a disabled woman just lost in Kensington)

Imagine if there were a shared house where it was ok to sit on non-disabled people, beat younger people, or lock people away, if they were not doing what someone wanted them to do at a particular time? (Winterbourne View)

As far as disabled and older people are concerned these things can happen. Right now, here in the UK. Not in Syria, where there is a civil war going on, but in the UK.

When council services are cut, we put up with fewer rubbish collections, or roads which are not as well maintained as they should be, or swimming pools which are not open as often as we might like. That is not to say these services are not essential services of course.

But for disabled and older people, council cuts can be much more threatening. For many people it might mean that there is not enough social care provision to be able to get up/go to bed when we want. We may no longer be able to afford someone to stay in the house all night to change our clothes if needs be. We may not be able to leave care establishments where we are beaten up, manhandled, and sat upon.

And what about the simple human rights to eat a hot meal every day? Or to be able to meet one’s friends and family when one wants to? Or to go to the gym to keep fit and healthy?

Social care needs to be independent of the council. It needs to be a separate entity, governed by national rules and guidance which can be enforced, adapted and changed to suit the needs of the local community. It needs to employ professional people, like it does at the moment, but professional people who are employed by a national body, not by a body regulated by local councillors.

In this new arrangement the local Social Care office would receive funding calculated according to how many people live in the area. From population data it would be clear how much money the local/county area should have. The local social care structure would follow a national model – x amount for management, x amount for service delivery, etc. – so it becomes clear how much money is being spent on what.

In this way the council could not, for example, decide to spend more money on the local roads rather than giving local people the human rights to which they should be entitled.

These are decisions that no-one should have to make, but which every local authority has to decide every year.

Let’s make social care a human rights issue, not a council spending issue!

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One Comment
  1. well said theo. you have really spoken well here onhow rights to dignity and privacy are just ridden ovwer rough shod on a daily basis. In the examples you have given you also highlight how our right to be included and particpate in our communities are routinely taken away. Human Rights remain an equalities issue. Its time to call a govt, who wants to take rights away or who who lead a call for rights to be abolished wihout consultation, to account. If i was not an atheist i would pray for the disabled community to understrand this and to re-engage in a campaign for rights. Of course our rights are further dimished as we increasingly slip into poverty through welfare reform and you have given me an idea about how i can use a letter to the editor on my own blog

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