Bradford voices heard as care report focuses on harsh realities for elderly and disabled (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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MP's survey into social and financial costs of care
A damning social care report produced by MP David Ward which will be used to help shape national policy was published today.
The harsh reality faced by many disabled people in Bradford struggling to cope in homes that need adapting is highlighted in the Reforming Social Care: Voices from Bradford East research, which involved consultation with 35,000 households on the proposals within the Government’s Draft Care and Support Bill.
The Liberal Democrat MP said the research was designed to give residents of Bradford a voice in shaping the reforms proposed within the Draft Bill and will be submitted as evidence to the Joint Committee scrutinising the legislation, which will address the growing needs of an ageing population and how care for them can be funded.
Key findings from Mr Ward’s research include:
- Overwhelming support for maintaining Bradford’s Fair Access to Care threshold at the ‘moderate’ level, meaning those with moderate disabilities still getting home help.
- Strong support for the proposed extended means test of £123,000 in 2017 by the Government, with residents of Bradford benefiting significantly from the lifetime cap on care costs.
But Mr Ward warned that, due to the large percentage of care home top-up fees paid in Bradford, “more needs to be done to investigate the sustainability and suitability of the current local authority rate”.
He said: “Due to high levels of loneliness, the council needs to work in partnership with community organisations and schools to encourage and develop innovative schemes to support older people living in social isolation.
“Having already introduced some welcome measures to increase the quality of care, there is a strong argument for Bradford Council to take a greater role in driving up standards among independent sector care providers.
“Evidence suggests that Bradford Council should increase efforts to raise awareness of care services among ethnic minority communities. The council needs to do more to engage with and enable harder-to-reach communities to access support services and ensure appropriate support services are available within the area.
“The thing that I am most proud of is that this research was a real joint effort with fantastic local contributions. It was crucial that Bradfordians were aware of the social care reforms, but more importantly that they had an opportunity to contribute to the legislation .
“I believe that our research is really important locally and I hope it helps gives impetus to finding effective solutions.”
Bradford Disabled People’s Forum chairman Cath Stevenson said: “We’re pleased David Ward took up the issue. We just hope that the survey’s findings are listened to by the Government and those with the powers to make changes and that they act on this.”
As part of his research David Ward and his team spoke to people struggling to cope with disabilities and living in a single room in their homes because of access problems.
Mr A was blind and had bladder cancer and he waited for months before anything was done regarding adaptations to his home. Before anything actually could be done, he died.
Mr C had diabetes and both legs amputated. His home has steep steps, no room for a stairlift, and doors not wide enough for his wheelchair. He is confined to one room whenever he is released from hospital and has to eat, sleep and shower and go to the toilet in one room. Mr C and his wife cannot sell their home.
An 83-year-old man was released into the night from care despite suffering from dementia.
He was taken home wearing no shoes, and had wet himself.
All his clothes were in one bag.
Bradford Council has said that the increasing complexity of cases and a growth in the number of people with learning disabilities as being major factors in driving up the cost of care.
The number of people with learning disabilities is expected to grow from 7,594 in 2012 to 10,332 in 2017.