The increasing size of our ageing population and increased longevity of life is not new information; it is something that we have been aware of for many years. Therefore, I am pleased that in his response to my debate, Paul Burstow, Minister for Care Services, agreed with me that it is time to take action and ensure that this Government does not act as previous governments have by kicking this issue into the long grass. We should celebrate the fact that people are living longer; it is a great credit to our society that many people in the UK are having a longer third phase of life and we must act to support them rather than let fears for those later years of life daunt and overwhelm.
The Minister made it clear that not only funding but delivery of care and services for older people is something that has not previously been given the priority it deserves. I welcome the Minister outlining the Government’s actions to move forward, next April, on implementing a White Paper for Social Care, including the recommendations of the Dilnot Report to secure a new funding system for social care. This will be a system which is both sustainable and fair whilst still ensuring that the quality of care is the greatest priority.
While I was disappointed to hear that the Government is not currently minded to create an Older Person’s Minister, I was pleased that the Government will look at my suggestion to establish a new Cabinet Committee on Older People’s issues and a new test within regulatory impact assessments that specifically looks at the effect of proposals on the over 65s in the way that it does for other defined sectors of society.
It was hard to get everything that people wanted to speak about on this issue into a 90 minute debate and I’m sure we could have covered even more topics but I am pleased I got the debate and highlighted the concerns of many people, young and old, across my constituency and beyond about the way we care for older people. But what was absolutely clear is that this is an issue we can no longer ignore.
The full debate can be read HERE.