Sheffield City Council debated the current crisis facing the NHS and social care at the Full Council meeting earlier this month, as it is now well established that the current pressure on NHS services and adult social care is almost unprecedented. The Sheffield Labour Group acknowledge this but want to stress that health and social care staff should be thanked for their tremendous hard work and dedication; as it is not staff who are to blame for the continuing crisis at the NHS, but a government who consistently fail to fund our healthcare.
However, additional funding needs to be provided and Labour councillors in Sheffield support calls for the government to provide this. The current crisis in social care is letting down thousands, and this government’s failure to fund social care is also having a huge knock-on effect to the increasingly under pressure and under resourced NHS.
In Sheffield we can see how difficult it is for cash-strapped NHS Trusts, in the face of rising social care costs, with recent developments at the specialised dementia service Hurlfield View. Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Trust (SHSC) are pulling out of their contract to run Hurlfield View citing unaffordable rising costs. However, Sheffield City Council have worked hard to line-up replacement services, with all the replacement services currently assessed as ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (the same rating as Hurlfield View), and the day care and respite care providers already have experience and expertise in supporting people with dementia. The services will be spread across the city and may mean that care is a lot closer to home for many.
The council have acted to make sure that dementia services are being provided to the same high quality, but the fact that an NHS trust is no longer able to run a service such as Hurlfield View demonstrates that the government need to provide more funds to local authorities and NHS trusts to run social care services.
This is why Labour councillors has been calling on the government to do more, but earlier this month at the Full Council meeting Liberal Democrat Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed moved to delete the Labour motion calling on the government to support calls for £700 million be provided nationally in urgent response to the current health and social care crisis.
In response Labour Leader Julie Dore said “the Liberal Democrat attempts in council tell you everything you need to know about them: in the papers, on radio and on television they talk about the need to fund our services but when Labour councillors attempt to put pressure on the government, who are starving our social care services of funds, the Liberal Democrats oppose this! Seemingly they haven’t learnt a single lesson from their Coalition days in government”.