At a time when the health service is under financial pressure, and our attention is drawn to cuts at Stepping Hill, it’s important that we don’t ignore the invisible crisis which is unfolding in adult social care. The sad truth is that vulnerable and elderly people are trapped in hospital beds because there is nowhere to care for them in the community. Care homes, social services and home care agencies are all struggling to cope, due to increasing demand and decreasing resources. Patients can’t be discharged from hospital to inadequate social care and inadequate social care increases admissions to hospitals.
Inadequate social care also increases the pressure on families.
I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in my recent survey about the experience of caring in Stockport.
The number of people with caring responsibilities is growing, with families and neighbours playing a vital role in looking after friends or relatives. Many are caring 52 weeks a year without being able to take a break, isolated at home or trying to juggle their responsibilities at work with their caring role.
Families looking after a loved one with dementia seem particularly stretched. I am full of admiration for the dedicated volunteers I have met, for example in Heaton Moor, where there is a weekly Dementia drop-in for people with dementia and their carers to share experiences and information. However, this kind of support is patchy across Stockport, and relies entirely on volunteers such as Beryl Whitehead.
This summer I have the opportunity to make sure the concerns of carers and those who support carers such as Beryl are heard by the Government. I have provided submissions based on the experiences of my constituents in Stockport to the consultation by the Department of Health on a new Carers Strategy and to the Select Committee on Communities and Local Government inquiry into adult social care offering some practical recommendations to help carers.
Adult social care is at breaking point and there needs to be some radical new thinking on how we can better work with families to use all available resources to offer those at the end of their lives the dignity and respect they deserve.
I have been listening to your views about the referendum on our membership of the European Union, which is on 23rd June.
It seems clear that, despite all the arguments for and against, many people are still looking for an answer and haven’t made up their mind. People have said to me that there are so many conflicting statistics about the impact of either leave or remain on the economy, that they are left none the wiser.
Stockport MP Ann Coffey has ensured that hundreds of her constituents have a voice in the Healthier Together consultation on the way healthcare services in Greater Manchester are delivered.
Ann met Dr Ranjit Gill, lead GP at Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group, to share some of the results of her own survey on the NHS, conducted across her constituency since last summer, which has received over 700 responses so far.