The challenges created by social care are immense. And they cannot be solved with token gestures. What's needed is a serious settlement, a blueprint that will ensure we have a properly funded and efficient system that will withstand the rapidly changing demands of an ageing population. A robust system that can meet everyone's needs. When Theresa May became leader, she pledged to deliver a country that works not just for the privileged few but for everyone. To follow through on that promise, the government must come up with a plan to resolve the crisis in social care.
There is a strange predictability to news in the social care sector. First, the Care Quality Commission, or some other reputable body, publishes figures that show the black hole in social care finances is increasing. Then the government reheats one of its tired ideas and attempts to put a glossy new spin on it. This routine is then repeated ad nauseam.
The latest report from Government has revealed new steps to encourage hospitals and local authorities to work together with out-of-hospital services to alleviate the issue of people being kept in hospital longer than necessary. A very positive step forward in my eyes and the only way to ensure people, especially older people, are recovering in a suitable environment.
Ever since I became Channel 5 weather presenter in 2010, I've been aware of this growing problem. In that year, we had one of the coldest winters on record - 'Snowmageddon', the tabloids coined it. But this movie-like scenario had no happy Hollywood ending. Thousands of 'excess' deaths were caused by the extreme conditions five years ago, and the death toll has been rising ever since. So, you're probably thinking, how can this be possible in a first world, affluent country? Surely we're all used to the British weather by now?
We cannot rely on charities: this needs to be a top priority for our Government and we need to find ways of working together to address this issue. It's no good having policy in place if it is not put into practice. The system needs to be overhauled and fast, if we are to provide the care and support that all disabled children and their families deserve.
Every person with a long term condition should access the care they need when they need it - it is not acceptable for people with very serious conditions like MS to face a merry go-round of decision-making where no service will take responsibility for the care they need. Or for the assessments they receive to be used an opportunity to reduce their care, telling them that they are simply someone else's responsibility.
Home matters, it can be an expression of independence, important to our sense of wellbeing and critical to our health. Where we live should be a choice at every stage in our lives. But for those who have complex care and support needs that choice is all too often denied, confused with the package of care, and loss of control.
It's been a long nine months for the NHS since the Francis report was published. As if the terrible and unnecessary suffering at Mid-staffs wasn't enough, numerous other scandals have come to light all across the country, continuing to damage the reputation of what we like to think of as a national treasure.
The moral imperative to root out ageism in the NHS now has legal backing, following the recent expansion of the age-related provisions of the 2010 Equality Act to include services. All public sector organisations must eliminate unequal treatment on the grounds of age. But where do we start in cancer care?