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How are the Lib Dems pledging to help social care?

Ahead of the General Election, Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has stepped into the limelight and unveiled the parties plans for the health and social care sector.

Ever since Prime Minister Rishi Sunak revealed plans for a summer General Election, party leaders have taken it in turns to announce their manifestos. Part of this includes detailing how leaders would address the current NHS and social care crisis – over the last week Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has been put into the spotlight.

Today, 4th June 2024, the Lib Dems pledged to provide free personal care should they be successful on 4th July. The party claimed this will help ‘end the hospital crisis’ by enabling thousands of people ready to be discharged but stuck in hospital beds to get care, as well as help the elderly to ‘stay in their own homes longer’.

Sir Ed Davey said: ‘As a carer for my disabled son, and after caring for my ill mother when I was young, care is deeply personal for me. That is why I am putting fixing the care crisis at the heart of the Liberal Democrat offer to the country at this election.

‘Far too often, family carers are being left to pick up the pieces because the care system simply isn’t there for them. Millions of people are going without the care they need, while thousands are stuck in hospital beds instead of being cared for in their own home or a care home.

‘We cannot fix the crisis facing the NHS without fixing the crisis facing social care. The Liberal Democrats would bring in free personal care to help people live independently and with dignity, in their own homes wherever possible.’

Overall, the party have estimated that the policy would cost around £2.7bn per year and said the funds could be raised by reversing tax cuts given to the banking sector by the Conservatives. The policy, according to Sir Davey, would cover nursing care, help with mobility, hygiene and medication, and be available to people both in their own homes or a care home. However, if it’s the latter, they would still have to contribute to their accommodation costs.

Commenting on the Lib Dems plans for social care, Lucinda Allen, senior policy officer at the Health Foundation, said: ‘We welcome the Liberal Democrats’ plans to tackle some of the urgent problems facing the social care sector, which has been undermined by decades of political neglect and underfunding. We await to see if other political parties follow suit and offer detail on their plans to address this longstanding policy failure. Under the current system, many older and disabled people go without care they need, staff pay and conditions are poor and reliance on unpaid carers is high.

‘While free personal care would not protect people with the highest care needs against catastrophic care costs, it offers basic support for everyone with the cost of some care services. Free personal care, if adequately funded and delivered, would be a huge improvement on the current threadbare safety net for people with care needs and their families.’

In addition to announcing new measures for social care, towards the end of last month the Lib Dems announced plans to help improve children’s mental health. Sir Davey claimed he would increase taxes on social media giants and companies such as Amazon and Google to fund mental health professionals for every state school in the country.

The news came after the latest NHS report found almost 340,000 children and young people are currently on waiting lists to access mental health services in England. Figures also discovered one in five children and young people aged between eight and 25 had a ‘probable mental disorder’ last year.

Image: Openverse 

More on this topic:

Reaction to Labour’s plans to slash NHS wait times

General Election 2024: Will this be the year of social care?

Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.

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