Local Elections: Time we had a National Care Service

It wasn’t long ago when we came out to clap for our NHS workers during the Pandemic, showing our gratitude and that our burnt-out NHS workforce was worthy of our thanks, writes cllr Shabina Qayyum (Labour Group).
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We also saw the devastating effects the Pandemic had on the Social Care sector.

I remember Philia Lodge, a care home in my ward, dealing with the deaths of eight residents in one week due to covid because this Government failed to protect both staff and patients alike.

A horror that will live with many of us for a long time.

cllr Shabina Qayyumcllr Shabina Qayyum
cllr Shabina Qayyum
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Due to advances in medical science people are living longer and need good, dependable, social care they have worked hard their whole lives for, and when that time comes for the State to look after them.

It wasn't long ago that the leader of the previous administration in Peterborough said that cuts to Adult Social Care in the budget meant that people would need to take care of their loved ones and that the council would, "sometimes have to say no to care”.

A Labour-run Council would support the continuation of the Social Work Academy currently stipulated in this year's budget by the new Independent administration, thus reducing the need for expensive agency workers so putting the taxpayers money to good use.

I have always championed the Cooperative model of Social Care where front line care workers and care recipients will have more say over the model of care offered to and by them.

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Most care cooperatives sign up to Unison's ethical care charter and will be not for profit, putting profits back into the business to improve the quality of care provided. It’s been used successfully in councils like Plymouth and Southwark and would improve services in Peterborough too, if Labour came into power.

Even more significantly, nationally, a Labour Government would launch the, "National Care Service." This is one of the most significant shifts to be seen to public services since the birth of the NHS in 1948.

A ‘National Care Service’ would ensure that care workers are rewarded with fair pay for the work they put in, the delivery of high-quality care by forming partnerships with thousands of stakeholders across our country, making working conditions lead to a high-quality care service that prevents your loved ones from ending up in hospital.

The Conservative Government has no plan for social care.

There was nothing at their conference last year about this. In a sector that is spending £20 billion of taxpayers money into a system that is broken and more representative of sticking plaster politics has led to a shrinking workforce with relatives and friends left to pick up the pieces, as we have seen locally in Peterborough under a Conservative-run administration for 23 years.

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This has led to a demand backlog, an increase in hospital admissions and waiting lists soaring with nowhere to move people to a place providing adequate and timely care.

Whilst optimism is the fuel that drives the passion within, let us be cautious.

Such changes won’t happen overnight. We will have to be realistic on timelines to overhaul the whole system. A National Care service would take 10 years to implement and improve the mess created by the Conservative government.

On the 2nd May, you have a choice. To vote for more of the same or for a change that will bring value in the way of services under a Labour Council and Government that will mend and heal, not rob you of the opportunity of being looked after in later life.

Make the right choice.