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Warwick-led research calls for social care 'New Deal

Following the launch of the Warwick-led PSA Care Commission Report ‘Towards a New Deal for Care and Carers’, the University of Warwick will today host a discussion on the report and social care; open to all between 4pm-6pm in the Oculus, room OC1.09.

The report, launched by the Political Studies Association Commission on Care, calls on the government to take urgent and comprehensive action to tackle the crisis in care for older people.

The discussion, including report authors and experts, will feature:

  • Dr Juanita Elias – University of Warwick
  • Dr Carole Mockford – Warwick Medical School
  • Prof Ruth Pearson – University of Leeds and Women’s Budget Group
  • Bridget Harper - Coventry Women’s Voices + Coventry Older Voices

Led by researchers from the University of Warwick and the Women’s Budget Group, the report laments the failure of successive governments and political parties to recognise social care as a political priority.

The report cites growing demand resulting from a rapidly ageing population and cutbacks to funding has left the formal care system at breaking point with high levels of unmet needs, low pay and poor conditions for care workers, and an increasing reliance on unpaid carers.

Professor Shirin Rai, of the University of Warwick’s Department of Politics and International Studies and a Member of the Commission said:

“We call on the government to work towards a National Care Service that is free at the point of delivery, sustainably funded and staffed by a qualified and well-paid workforce. In the short term, we call for an immediate funding boost to end bed-blocking, tackle unmet need and relieve pressure on the many unpaid carers who are stepping in as a measure of last resort.

“We strongly urge on the government to make investment in social care a priority in the upcoming Autumn Financial Statement, not only for economic reasons but to secure a fair and caring society where everyone gets the support they need, irrespective of their colour, class or creed.”

Based on a year-long inquiry into the state of care for older people in England, the report found that:

· Women are bearing the brunt of the care crisis: they are often expected to step in to fill the gap when the state fails to provide care services, are over-represented among low paid care workers, and more likely to be care recipients themselves.

· Complexity of rules and regulations are denying care to many; accessing social care in England appears to be only possible for those who are energetic, patient, competent in negotiating bureaucracy, numerate and determined.

· BAME communities are poorly served by the care system with ‘one size fits all’ approaches, often driven by the pressure to achieve cost-savings when commissioning, failing to meet their specific needs.

12 January 2017