Who will do an Olympic song and dance for social care?

I didn’t think I could get away this week without a reference to that small sports event which you might have heard about. Living about a mile down the road from the Olympic Park , it’s been hard to miss the build up over the last few years. Now that it’s finally here, it’s quite surreal. On Friday night, I went to the “other” park in Stratford, to watch the opening ceremony on a big screen  with , it seems, most of the rest of east London. It was fantastic – a genuine sense of excitement and pride that all this is happening in our home town as well as a competition for which nationality could cheer their team the loudest . (GB won – home advantage. India and Jamaica ran well to claim silver and bronze.)

Danny Boyle’s extravaganza was breathtaking , and has gone down well, if leaving some or our overseas friends a little bemused. I , for one, was delighted with the section on the NHS. It’s absolutely right that we should take the opportunity in front of the world to say that our NHS, born in times of terrible hardship, and based on values which perhaps only something as terrible as a World War could have brought to the fore, is something that we should be proud of.

So few other countries can emulate it. I can tell you some stories where the NHS has got things wrong, but I can tell you more of when it has got things right. When my family have needed it , it’s been there – no Visa card required.  No-one had to sell their house or ask friends and family for money. We all paid for their care, as we will do for others who need it.   I’m proud to live in a country where people don’t die because they can’t afford healthcare.

However, whilst all this was going on, I was also  thinking about social care. I’m also proud of the many good social workers and care staff out there, and also family carers,  who nobody is dancing in Olympic ceremonies about. Social care is not free for most people, unlike the NHS, but it’s no less needed.

I don’t know how social care got missed out of the party when Nye Bevan’s vision for meeting the health needs of our country was born, but it did and it has never caught up.  Our chances to change this with the draft Care and Support Bill will address some  inconsistencies but  will stop short of the ideal, by a long way. Until such time as we can guarantee that, whatever our needs are, whatever our means are,  and whatever family support we have, we will be able to live a dignified and fulfilling life, our social care system will not be fixed.

I hope you’re enjoying the Olympics, and here’s to the success of all those athletes giving their best. And somewhere,  not very far away from the main action at the stadium , I won’t be winning any medals and there probably won’t be any fireworks,  but I’ll be  doing my own little dance for social care.

Enjoy the Games everyone.



July 30, 2012 - Posted by | Olympics | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I attended the games with my wife who I care for and it was amazing.Well organised and accessible………except once again the toilets.Why do the people who manufacture accessible toilets insist on putting the washbasin next to the upright arm and thus preventing a person who can’t stand from getting close enough with teir wheelchair? Anyway,on to the toilets at the olympic park.1st loo locked so we waited outside.We were just getting concerned for the person inside when we were informed that it was locked due to it ‘being broken’.On to the next block,lady standing outside………’Just standing guard because the lock’s bust’ but didn’t know the person inside! Just doing it out of the goodness of her heart.If this is the case now what’s it going to be like when the paralympics come around with a lot more disable people attending.

    Comment by Terry | August 15, 2012 | Reply

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