Councillors in Gateshead have said that a National Care Service should be created by the government in light of the current ‘care crisis.’
The call was made at a July 18 council meeting, with suggestions for funds to be put aside for free personal care and a care service to work alongside the NHS.
The demands were led by Gateshead’s cabinet member for adult social care, councillor Michael McNestry, and backed by councillors from across the political spectrum.
McNestry said: “It is fundamentally unfair that to access basic care many older people face catastrophic costs that can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, wiping out a lifetime of savings and forcing some families to sell their homes.”
“We need a long-term sustainable funding solution that will make essential care free at the point of use.
“There is an unacceptable gap between NHS care which is free at the point of delivery, and social care which is means-tested.
“Making social care free would close that gap and would make it much easier to integrate the delivery of health and social care services.”
Since 2010, the government had forced Gateshead Council to find savings of £38 million on adult social care despite rising demand for care services and rising costs,
Last year, Gateshead Council spent more than £66m providing adult social care services to more than 2,600 people.
McNestry added: “In light of our ageing population we need bold changes to deliver a long-term funding solution for social care.
“We therefore call on the government to take the necessary steps to implement this policy as swiftly as possible , and for our local MPs to support this campaign for free personal care by speaking up in favour of the policy in the House of Commons.”