Charity calls on political parties to address social care failings
The Alzheimer’s Society is calling for political party election manifestos to address serious failings in dementia care. This is after a survey found less than a quarter of people with dementia are receiving all the help they need.
The charity’s survey of nearly 1,500 carers and people with dementia found major concerns about the standards of care being provided. Only 23 per cent of respondents said all their care needs were met while less than a quarter (24 per cent) felt staff providing care had the skills and understanding necessary. Only 12 per cent of carers always had access to short breaks.
Further Alzheimer’s Society research revealed MPs believe dementia needs more attention from political parties. 81 per cent of 150 MPs surveyed said they believe a long term settlement for the funding of social care needs to be a high priority for their party. 67 per cent also agreed the system for charging for essential care such as washing and dressing places an unfair burden on people with dementia.
Neil Hunt, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, says; ‘It is unacceptable for a care service to be failing such a vulnerable group to such a staggering degree. There are currently 700,000 people in the UK living with dementia. This number will increase to more than a million within 20 years. The vast majority of these people will need some level of social care so it is vital we have a robust system in place that meets their needs.
It has been reassuring to hear the political parties talking about adult social care this year but now with an election imminent we need more detail. MPs have told us this is an important issue but we now need to hear guarantees on how each of the parties would provide a fair, transparent and high quality social care system. This must explain how they will develop a social care system that is fit for tomorrow but also how it addresses failings today.’
To coincide with these research findings, Alzheimer’s Society has published three demands for what it wants to see from political parties in their election manifestos.
- Details of how they will develop a quality care service. This must include guarantees that every person with dementia: can expect trained professionals who understand how to deliver quality care and support to people with dementia; can expect the NHS and social care service to work closely to support people to live their lives as independently as possible and with their carers can receive the care and support they need to live well at any stage of their journey.
- A guarantee that Attendance Allowance will not be scrapped – This is an invaluable benefit that gives people with the dementia and their carers the choice, flexibility and control to shape their own care. Alzheimer’s Society research found overwhelming opposition to the idea of abolishing Attendance Allowance and moving the money into care services.
- Dementia research made a higher priority. Dementia research is drastically underfunded. The government invests eight times less in dementia research than cancer research. Developing new treatments has the potential to significantly reduce the number of people with dementia. Existing research expenditure needs to be reallocated to ensure dementia research receives the same investment as other major conditions.
Members of the public can play their part by writing to their prospective parliamentary candidates and asking them to raise the issue with their parties. They can also join Alzheimer’s Society’s campaigners’ network. To find out more visit alzheimers.org.uk/campaignersnetwork