So perhaps Britain is a much different place today, than many expected and indeed hoped for. There is a genuine fear for the future of 15.4 million people living with long-term conditions in the UK.
People with long-term conditions currently account for 50% of all GP appointments, 64% of all outpatient appointments and 70% of impatient bed days. Needless to say, the future of the NHS is crucial to so many lives. What that future is now not so clear.
Mr Cameron has repeatable stated the NHS will be protected. Budgets will not be cut and indeed services will be improved. However, if this is indeed to be the case remains to be seen. There is also the question about what the future of social care looks like and an even larger question of how the two are integrated together. And all that makes no mention of the project £12 billion cuts that are set come in the welfare budget.
Something, which I felt, was often overlooked during the election was the changing complexion of our society. We as nation are living longer. That means we are more likely to develop additional needs. Never in our history has there been a time when we needed a robust system that supports people properly.
There can be no doubt that this is a time for action. We face the reality of further cuts in public spending on health and social care. So on the one hand, we face surging demand, and on other, dwindling resources. This stark reality would seemingly point toward a dystopian future of inequality. And make no mistake…
That bleak reality could yet come to pass.
Over the coming five years, in order that we avoid what could very well be the modern tragedy, we must empower people to be able to live, as they want to. That means creating the right tools, creating the map of the products and services, and growing community leaders.
These steps could be viewed as simplistic but the nuances are in fact horrendously complex. More than ever before, social businesses and charities have a crucial role to play.
Here at Ethos Disability, we promise to help as much as we can. We will continue to engage with public sector partners, identify innovative products and services, and create meaningful resources. Let’s see what we can do over the next 5 years.