Care crisis left my brother relying on the kindness of friends and volunteers | Letters

Shelagh Young writes about her brother being left without care, and says that trying to hold local councils or the NHS to account feels futile

Your excellent reporting on the social care funding crisis is sorely needed (Disabled care home residents evicted in charity’s dispute with councils, 25 November). Your article states correctly that council or NHS funders have a legal duty to provide care. But with care homes closing beds and care workers driven out by chronic low pay, this duty is already being breached – and looks set to be so even more often.

Earlier this year, you reported that my brother had been left without care by Cornwall council. He lives alone and is completely dependent on paid care workers. The council claimed that there were no available care home places in the county or in neighbouring counties, and no way of quickly reinstating care in his home. He survived only due to the kindness of friends and volunteers for the 11 days needed to find a care home place.

Once the council had found him a place, this “temporary measure” lasted more than six months due to its inability to re-establish care at his home. In response, the care home threatened eviction. Having proved his entitlement to NHS-funded care, he is now being cared for at home again.

Fixing social care only remains optional because the terrible impact of the broken system is not yet understood by enough people. That councils and the NHS are failing in their legal duty of care is inevitable because of the insanity of current funding arrangements. Holding them to account for local failures is futile when the root cause is the appalling negligence of successive governments.
Shelagh Young
Edinburgh

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