Providing social care on par with NHS or education, says Justin Welby | Social Protection

The Archbishop of Canterbury called for a new ‘pact’ on social care between state and people, similar to the provision of the NHS and education, which makes ‘absolute worth and dignity’ the priority absolute.

Justin Welby, head of the Church of England, said focusing on managing the cost of social care, a priority in recent government reforms, is “upside down” because it ignores this what people who need care want.

“You start with the value of being human,” Welby said. “So you say: what is the consequence of this? [in terms of the care system]’. We did it for the health service. We did not do this for social services.

He called for an agreement that would make the best possible care of all “a national obligation”.

Welby was speaking ahead of a parliamentary battle over funding for social services. A new tax and cap on child care costs to prevent most people from having to sell their homes are at the heart of the sector government’s proposed reforms, which affect 11 million people in the UK as caregivers or recipients of care.

Ministers have resisted calls from MPs, healthcare experts and former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to inject at least £ 7bn a year in new money to stabilize social care after nearly two years of crisis, the pandemic leaving parts of the system to collapse. Scotland is taking a different approach and is consulting on setting up a new national care service.

The Archbishop said: “There is no clear vision of care. We know the NHS vision: ‘free point-of-use care’. You can sum it up in one sentence… We continue to put the cart before the horse. We keep talking about how we’re going to pay for it when we don’t really know what we want to pay. “

The House of Lords, in which Welby sits, will soon consider plans to finance the social benefit cap. Under the government’s plans, poorer people will lose a greater proportion of their wealth than richer people, and their homes can still be sold to finance their care. The upper house is expected to demand changes to the proposal which has been called unfair.

Welby is pushing for deeper reform. “You have to have a conventional approach that says, regardless of who you are, your economic worth, your usefulness, that society is committed to giving you the best possible care as you approach the end of your life,” did he declare.

This means making social protection “a community obligation, not just a family obligation”.

Welby’s stepfather lived with him and his wife for the last year of his life, with his wife, who trained to be a teacher and spent many years caring for him. Their daughter receives care funded by a child care allowance and lives with them.

“If it is only a family obligation, it is totally unfair because the poorest families, the families who struggle to make ends meet, the heavily indebted families will simply feel guilty” , Welby said.

“We have to get rid of the guilt. It is a community obligation. We have done it in the field of health and education, we must do it with social services. It is a national obligation, expressed by the State. The state must at the very least subscribe to this alliance, as it does with health. “

Welby and the Archbishop of York have commissioned a review of social services to examine the wants and needs of people who use them, which will report back in the spring.

The Archbishops’ Commission on the Reinvention of Care is chaired by Dr. Anna Dixon. She said: “The health care system does not allow people to live fully. People are not supported to live the life that they want or that any of us would choose for ourselves. “

The commission produced a list of values ​​to support a future vision of care. They “include concepts that are generally not heard in political discussions about care, such as fulfillment, loving kindness, empathy, trust and justice”.

“It affects us all,” Dixon said. “At one time or another, we need care or provide care. We have to get away from seeing this [as a] something that happens to someone else.

Welby said that often when discussions about a person’s end-of-life care focus on cost, “my colleagues who work with me here [at Lambeth Palace] Africa and countries of the South find this incomprehensible. They start by saying that they are very special.

He added that in the UK people don’t like to talk about the final stages of aging. “We are moving from respected, independent and capable elder status, and we turn a blind eye to the next stage, Shakespeare’s sixth and seventh ages of man… the next thing you have is the obituary,” he said. -he declares. “We’re leaving out the little between being competent and obituary.”

“There is a point where our individual autonomy is lost but we are still alive,” he said. “At this point, in a truly healthy society, the community is saying that because we love and appreciate you as an individual, we will ensure the maximum dignity and care possible during this time, whether long or short. . “

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