Largan column: 'Social care is a challenge we have to face up to'

In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan urges everyone to "work together in a responsible and constructive manner" to support our care homes.

As we look ahead to the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday, it is worth remembering how everyone has their part to play in society.

Captain Tom Moore, now promoted to the rank of Honorary Colonel by the Queen, is still serving the nation after having seen action during the Second World War. His efforts to raise over £31 million for the NHS are truly inspiring and proves the enduring value of an individual, no matter their age.

When people put so much into society over the course of their life, it is only right that society should give them something back in return when they can no longer care for themselves.

Carers make such a big difference for the lives of elderly people and their families. During this national crisis, we have seen carers continuing to go above and beyond, helping people with their needs and bringing friendship and consolation to so many.

I have been pressing both Ministers and local authorities, urging them to do everything they can to support High Peak’s care homes, to help them get adequate PPE supplies and tests.

Increased testing capacity means that all care home staff and care home residents are now eligible for testing, regardless of whether they are displaying Coronavirus symptoms.

After this national crisis is over, the social care system will still need help. This is a challenge we have to face up to, and I have seen the consequences of this right here in High Peak.

The proposed closure of Goyt Valley House care home in New Mills has rightly sparked outcry from the community. I have been campaigning hard to keep Goyt Valley House open, meeting with staff, residents and relatives and, to the surprise of many of my critics, attending the protest march in support of the care home and publicly criticising the Conservative Council. I also invited the Care Home Minister to come and visit the home. But unfortunately, the current lockdown has made that visit impossible.

During the general election, I often said that social care is one of the biggest challenges facing us as a country. The current crisis has only underlined this fact. We desperately need a long-term, sustainable and fair way to fund social care. We also need to do more to recognise the amazing work done by care workers, who deserve to be paid so much more.

We have an ageing population. People are living longer. This is a very good thing. But it creates new challenges that we have to adapt to. Failure to act will store up huge problems for the future.

I’m an independent-minded moderate. This means I will not be ideological or partisan in my approach to the reform and improvement of social care. The only thing that matters is what works, and I am determined to work with the Government and colleagues from other parties to achieve a consensus on this vital issue.

Let’s work together, in a responsible and constructive manner, to support our care homes.

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