Where Is The Care would like to thank Rob Halfon for coming to visit and support us on our care stand in Harlow (see gallery for photos).
I was incredibly pleased when I heard that Katie and Kevin were setting up Where Is The Care? in Essex. As people are living longer, it’s becoming increasingly common to see families who want to give the best care possible to their aging parents, but can’t afford to take time off work or to pay for it themselves.
There are many options out there, but the task of finding out what you qualify for, what suits you best, and how to liaise with all of these services carries with it all of its own challenges and pitfalls. That is why I am so encouraged by the prospect of a website providing genuine, impartial, crowd-sourced advice from people who have had to learn these lessons the hard way.
As an MP, I am particularly glad to have been asked to contribute to the site, and to hopefully be part of this community which will become increasingly important for people around Essex and across the country. I hope that I can contribute something by keeping you up to date with the new laws and services which are created and what I feel needs to be done. More than anything, though, I am looking forward to taking the experience that is shared here back with me to Parliament. One of the most important roles of an MP is as a voice for their constituents. While many laws are made with the best intentions, you cannot create experience. You must undergo it.
That said, there have been reforms made by the government in the last year which, to my mind, are very welcome steps toward providing a better, simpler, and fairer care system. First of all, Jeremy Hunt’s decision to introduce a cap on care costs at £75,000 and offer help with care to anyone with less than £123,000 in the bank. Together these reforms will help 100,000 people who until recently would have been left on their own. These are being coupled with extra help for those who develop care needs before retirement and the option for those who would need to delay payments so that nobody need sell their home to pay for care.
The government is also keeping a closer eye on those who deliver poor care. It’s bringing stronger regulatory powers and introducing a Chief Inspector of Social Care who will be dedicated to give authoritative, independent verdict on providers regulated by the Care Quality Commission. On top of this they are bringing in a ratings system to make it easier for those in need of care to discern between providers and leave their own comments on the NHS choices website.
As I say, these measures seem right to me and I hope that they will benefit the people they are intended to and help to make caring for elderly relatives that bit easier for hard pressed families. However, there is much to be done and that’s one of the reasons I am so keen to welcome Where is the Care? into the conversation.
I am looking forward to working with Katie and Kevin, and with the whole community of care users in Harlow and Essex, to get a better picture of the needs which still aren’t being met and the gaps which are being slipped through. For example I want to see the financial services industry put forward new products which will allow people to plan better for care costs and be more secure in a long period of retirement. I am interested to see what you think of the Government’s reforms and what you feel needs done.
If you are a Harlow resident having problems with your own local services or you are not sure how best to liaise with other services, please contact me by phone, by email, or come to one of my local surgeries and I will be more than happy to help.
Constituency Office: 01278 311 451
Regular surgeries held