14 February 2020 – Independent Care Group
A social care campaigner has turned to verse
To stop the crisis getting worse
Mike Padgham, Chair of the Independent Care Group (ICG) has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson with an impassioned plea to meet and discuss a crisis in social care which has left at least 1.5m people without the care they need.
And in his letter he has included a specially-commissioned poem called Care Needed Please part of which reads: ‘I didn’t ask to be like this: I used to be carefree. I don’t want to be a burden; I just need you to care for me.’
Some £8bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2010, leaving care providers struggling and fewer and fewer people able to get local authority care at home or in residential care.
Campaigners have warned that the extra £1.5bn pledged by the Government for social care won’t even touch the sides in terms of solving the crisis as it will be swallowed up by providers having to meet the increase in the National Minimum Wage.
In his letter, Mr Padgham says: “I realise you are busy with Brexit but with every day that goes by, another person and another and another, struggles on, waiting for care that doesn’t come.
“How would you feel if you were at home, alone, and unable to get out of bed to go to the toilet or to get food and drink?
“And how would you feel if this continued for hours, for days as you became weaker and weaker until you were found, taken into hospital, put on a bed in a corridor because no rooms were free and left there; then, when you were deemed strong enough to go home, you couldn’t go because there was still no care in place?
“We call ourselves a civilized society, but how can this be true when basic human rights to food, to medicine, the right to be cared for – are being broken every single day?”
Mr Padgham has written to the Prime Minister before and in his letter he repeats an invitation to see the crisis in care first-hand.
“I invite you, once more, to visit my care home in Scarborough where you are welcome to dine with myself and other care staff and residents and see the frontline of care for yourself. Or, if time will not allow, I am happy to come to London to discuss the crisis and share ideas on how we can sort out the social care system.”
Mr Padgham said: “Mr Johnson said he would tackle social care when he took over as Prime Minister and again at the General Election.
“We are yet to see much action on that front and I would like to meet him – either here in North Yorkshire or at 10 Downing Street to discuss the crisis in the sector.
“If he comes to Scarborough he will see for himself the challenges facing the delivery of social care in 2020.
“We are facing a situation where people simply cannot get the local authority-funded care that they need. The extra £1.5bn pledged, though welcome, won’t even start to get us back to where we were in 2010 and will be largely swallowed up by providers funding the rise in the National Living Wage.”
He said he had added the poem as “something different” to strengthen the plea.
Campaigners are worried after Mr Johnson said plans to tackle social care would be brought forward this year but admitted it could take up to 2025 to have them implemented.
Mr Padgham added: “We seriously cannot wait that long and social care is in danger of collapse right now, not in two, three or five years’ time.”
The poem in full:
Care Needed Please
I want to get out,
but I don’t know where to go.
My legs don’t seem to work
and I’ve lost the feeling in my toes.
I think I’ve wet myself,
but I really can’t be sure,
and I can’t get up to see
who’s knocking at the door.
And I’d love a cup of tea;
perhaps a piece of cake —
but I daren’t boil the kettle
and there’s no one here to make.
Where’s my family gone
when I need them most?
I can’t reach the phone to call them
and there are flies on my toast.
I didn’t ask to be like this:
I used to be carefree.
I don’t want to be a burden;
I just need you