A Dorset home help service is urging government ministers to focus on people not money in the delayed White Paper on social care reform, which had been due at Easter.
Sam Acton, owner of Southbourne-based Domestic Angels, believes too much emphasis is placed on funding and not enough attention is paid to the needs of carers or the people they look after.
“The social care system is desperately in need of reform, but I hope the delay is because the White Paper will offer some real changes in the way care is delivered in this country,” she says.
“The system is obsessed with 15-minute agency worker visits which means jobs are broken up into commercially-convenient time slots and prices. It’s trying to make real life work like a factory system, but this does not work. We’re dealing with people’s needs – no wonder carers feel undervalued and the people they care for are vulnerable.”
Amid fears the White Paper will fall short of the radical change originally promised some 85 groups, including leading charities and the Local Government Association, have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to make reform a personal priority.
The open letter says the elderly and disabled will be left living in “misery and fear” and demands the Prime Minister show the “vision and courage” needed to make social care reform his “legacy to future generations.”
Samantha Acton believes change has to be as much about the carers as those they care for.
“Staff turnover in this industry is notoriously high, but it’s not just about the money,” she says.
“Domestic Angels tries to slow things down a bit and create a working environment in which carers can do a really good job. In the long run this has to be a more effective approach that’s better for carers, the people they take care of and society as whole.”