I’ve just finished watching tonight’s Panorama, which was a follow-up to a programme earlier this year about continuing care for the elderly.
If you didn’t see it, you can find the link to watch the show online on this page - go on, watch it. In fact if you’re a Labour Party member then you have no excuse not to watch the programme, so go watch it now and I’ll see you in about 45 minutes…
Now you tell me just how the fuck do we, the Labour Party, justify what you’ve just seen?
It’s impossible, isn’t it.
In fact I’ll go a bit further here - if you’re a Labour Party member and can watch that programme without getting angry then you’re you’re in the wrong fucking party!
If you possess even a shred of compassion, then you’ll have started to get angry about 2-3 minutes in and by the time the programme got the story of the woman with dementia who had to pay for her own care after the NHS had kindly ’stabilised’ her condition by amputating her gangrenous leg you’ll have been more than ready to kick the living shit out of whichever bureaucratic tosser came up with that little gem of a decision.
As a party member I really don’t want to dwell on the footage of Blair at the 1997 Party conference announcing that he didn’t want this to a country where older people have to sell their homes to pay for their long term care - I guess that’s one pledge that never made it onto a poxy bit of plastic card so I doubt he loses too much sleep over the knowledge that nine years on that something he’s done absolutely fuck all about.
What I did take note of was the contribution of Ivan Lewis MP (Bury South), who is now the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, particularly the distinction he drew between health care, which should be free, and means-tested social care, which he appears to think is the kind of care that is provided to enable older people to continue to live independently.
Now, as far as I can see that’s a fair distinction to make - if only that were the actual test being used to decide whether NHS should be footing the bill for long-term care. Sadly, as Ivan may have realised (hopefully), if he watched the programme, that’s patently not the test that’s being used in practice as not a single one of the older people shown the programme could even remotely have been considered capable of living independently.
Well, Ivan - you suggested the test we should have, now get your arse in gear and get it sorted.
Oh, and if anyone’s off to this conference and thinking to tabling a motion - there’s one here that needs putting forward.