Barbara recently gave a speech on social care to the Resolution Foundation Annual Conference in Westminster. In the speech, Barbara highlighted the importance of the reform of social care for the future quality of life for people in Salford.
Barbara cautioned against parties using the social care debate for political point scoring, instead pointing out the need for a widespread political consensus on social care funding reform based upon the principles of equality and fairness.
Barbara said carers’ voices must be heard by policy makers, and used a recent event organised by Age Concern in Salford as an example of how to encourage local carers to become actively engaged in the debate on the future of social care.
She said that when the Government launches its Green Paper on Social Care it should also take into account the needs of those family members and friends who provide ‘informal’ care:
“There is much discussion about the provision of formal care but informal care represents around two thirds of all care delivered. Providing that informal care has health, financial and social costs for the carers. It is only by addressing the needs of carers that we can ensure that they can continue to care and to balance that care with work, education and a social life.”
She also urged all local authorities, including Salford Council, to focus specifically on the needs of carers:
“As local authorities and care providers begin transforming social care through Individual Budgets and a focus on more personalised services, they must fully consider the carer and other family members as well as the person receiving care.”
Barbara ended by saying that more work must be done to involve younger people, older people and carers in the debate. She said the Government needs to build people’s confidence in investing money in the future of social care services, by continually working to improve the quality of services, meet unmet needs and lessen the burden on carers.