A fortnight ago I wrote that I was so angry at apparent Government inaction on carers that I wrote to my MP.
Michael Fabricant has now written back and as promised, here’s his response:
Dear Mr Groves,
Thank you very much for your email, and attachment, of the 26th May regarding carers. I am grateful to you for writing on this important issue and have noted your comments.
I believe that people needing care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The Government understands the urgency of reforming the system of social care to provide much more control to individuals and their carers and to ease the cost burden that they and their families face. In order to do this we will:
- establish a commission, on long-term care, to report within a year. The commission will consider a range of ideas, including both a voluntary insurance scheme to protect the assets of those who go into residential care, and a partnership scheme as proposed by Derek Wanless.
- break down barriers between health and social care funding to incentivise preventative action.
- extend the greater roll-out of personal budgets to give people and their carers more control and purchasing power.
- use direct payments to carers and better community-based provision to improve access to respite care.
- reform Access to Work so disabled people can apply for jobs with funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they will need.
My ministerial colleagues are working now with civil servants to plan the detailed implementation of our policies.
Thank you, again, for contacting me and, finally, your congratulations on my re-election to Parliament are very much appreciated.
All the best,
I am grateful for the response and the indication of some of the coalition Government’s plans.
I am also realistic enough to know that the plans for significant cuts in public services means some ideas and policies might take a while to implement. We really are going to face some tough times.
The line about “dignity and respect” also struck a chord, as such sentiment has not always been evident in policy proposals from all three main political parties.
On a more general note, dignity and respect for others is something many in society seem to have lost sight of and they almost appear to revel in their callous disregard for others and their own ignorance.
We’re all different and yet it seems to have become commonplace to point the finger at anyone who doesn’t fit their misguided view of “normal” – but all in the name of a bit of fun, you understand.
I do note, however, that in Mr Fabricant’s response there isn’t an acknowledgement of the need to listen to carers and get a greater understanding of what we think might be beneficial. After all, the majority of us are carers 24/7. No doubt the planned Commission will take evidence from carers, but previous experience of such bodies doesn’t instill a great deal of confidence that the voices of those who really count will get heard.
So I will write back to Mr Fabricant, once again suggesting he takes a close look at some of the stories, statistics and suggestions that will no doubt appear during Carers Week, which starts on Monday.
I could get used to this engagement with elected representatives malarkey.