Suggested letter for your MP if your council has been forced to ‘ration’ care …

….. to less than is thought professionally to be appropriate or needed

– and explaining why Covid Easements need to be re-introduced to authorise “rationing” under the Care Act, unless the DHSC is resigned to people suing councils for restitution (money spent by others or for work done in lieu) or complaining about harm.

We suggest you copy this letter to your own MP, maybe missing out the sentence about Jeremy Hunt’s own responsibility for austerity, and the destruction of adult social services and care – which has been more to do with the Treasury, than any other department…

To Jeremy Hunt, my MP:

I expect you will have been made aware of this –

It is the source of the story that BBC1 covered last week that 49 councils have imposed special measures on themselves to ration care services to an extent that is less than professional staff think is actually needed, because of the workforce crisis and lack of care to put in under the Care Act.

I am hoping that as my MP you will ask a question in the House as to what the DHSC and the Secretary of State intend to do about that?

Under the Care Act, the duty owed is to meet eligible unmet need.

The law is that councils can PROVIDE even if they can’t manage to purchase care. The councils are thus in breach of duty.

The government could (MUST, I would say) re-introduce Coronavirus Act Easements (they expired last year) or offer an unqualified indemnity for the council sector for harm, injury or premature death of people not provided with their right to care (as the government did for the NHS at the start of the pandemic).

Or they could be asked if they accept that it’s related to 15 years of national policy regarding austerity, Brexit, not appreciating unpaid carers, etc. (forgive me for referring to a time when you were in charge of that policy; I appreciate that you have already changed your own position).

Or they could be given a convenient platform to say that people’s families need to step up, never mind that for that, one may as well read women… because they’re good at multi-tasking and somehow pretend to do their jobs, be parents AND volunteers in the community. 

The argument is that there is no care to be bought, regardless of the money, of course. But that’s not a conclusion that faith in the market, the bedrock of Conservatism, would normally lead to, is it?

The market might not pivot overnight, if restaurants and shops have given people golden hellos for 3 months work – but it would do so, pretty soon, if care work was properly paid and regarded.

Leaving councils in breach of statutory duty without Easements, means that they are all judicially reviewable and liable for restitution for money spent by others in lieu of the council, so not funding social care needs doesn’t even SAVE MONEY!! 

If that doesn’t matter to government, what is the point of the Health and Care Bill providing for CQC to ‘regulate’ social services authorities, and for powers of intervention and direction from a Secretary of State, I wonder?

Saying nothing effectively conveys the message that it’s nothing to DO with government, underlining that legal rights to care aren’t actually enforceable, despite judicial review, the legal aid rules, human rights and equalities legislation, all passed by Parliament, but underfunded by the Treasury.

If this shocking state of affairs isn’t an election issue, (or a leadership issue internally) for a party that goes on about sovereignty and the rule of law, I don’t know what is, frankly.

Yours faithfully

[Your name, with the address to show that you are the MP’s constituent]