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Fixing the national care crisis can save the NHS £500 a minute

Published on 04 September 2018 01:06 PM

“I was stuck in bed in hospital for 6 weeks, when I wanted to be at home. No one to look after me.”

“My mum wasn’t able to be discharged due to no care package/funding. My mum had to come live with me for some time.”

These were some of the heart wrenching messages people wrote to their MPs at Age UK Sutton and sister charity Age UK’s social care campaigning event on Wednesday 29 August.

The event, which saw ‘Penny the social care piggy bank’ visit Sutton and Carshalton High Streets, highlighted how nationally, a social care system on the edge of collapse is costing the NHS £500 a minute due to delayed discharges, as older people lack proper care provision to return home.

Members of the public visited Penny and wrote a postcard to their local MP to ask the government to provide more funding for social care. A number of people used the opportunity to share the effect of inadequate social care on themselves and their families:

“Lack of care meant I had to sell family home to put my mother in a care home.”

“My husband suffered with dementia and the care was very limited. He broke his arm and blocked NHS beds after for one month.”

Many wondered what would happen to them, when they would need care in the future:

“I am old but hope if I need care it will be available to me…”

“It can affect anyone at any time and can cause devastation. Until it affects you, you can’t understand how it is.”

“We need to ensure that we can access the care that will help us stay safe and that the system does not collapse.”

Paul Scully MP and Tom Brake MP also visited Penny in Sutton and Carshalton respectively. Speaking to Age UK Sutton CEO Nicola Upton, Paul Scully noted the need for a sustainable social care system that allows older people to live independently as long as possible, and that the upcoming social care Green Paper needs to ‘get it right’.

Tom Brake commented “Clearly there are big challenges on social care and particularly the issue of funding… With an ageing population this is a problem that’s going to get worse, not better so we need some action.” 

Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, also dropped in to visit Penny in Sutton and spoke with CEO Nicola Upton, who noted the need for more national funding for social care that would then enable change at a local level. “If we invest now in good care, it that means people will get older with dignity and more healthily” said Councillor Dombey.

Over 100 postcards were written by members of the public – the most from all of Penny’s visits to local Age UKs in England. The postcards were collected by Age UK Sutton's sister charity Age UK and will be given to Paul Scully MP and Tom Brake MP later in the year.

If you missed Penny the piggy bank’s visit to Sutton, you can still write to your MP to tell them why they should care about social care, and why the government needs to provide more funding for social care.

You can write an online postcard here. Alternatively, you can drop in to our office (see our contact us page for our address) and pick up a freepost postcard. 

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