Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson this week told a Parliamentary debate how his mother had been let down by a system that failed to provide a comprehensive and integrated care service.
Speaking during a debate on the Care Bill, Bill Esterson said urgent action was needed to provide a free and integrated care service for all which was free at the point of delivery.
The MP detailed the experiences of his own family during the debate. His mother, Joyce, is 83 and requires round the clock care.
Bill told MPs in the House of Commons: "My dad cares for my mum. Let me describe my mum’s experience this year, because it is the experience of many older people and their families.
"In the early part of the year, she was being cared for by my dad and she gradually declined until she was rushed into hospital. I think it happened because no health professionals or social care professionals were keeping a close enough eye on her. She ended up in hospital where, happily, she received very good care. Her wish was met and she was able to go home, and the health service provided a hospital bed that she could use there.
"Once she got home, the lack of service in the community became a problem again. There was not the rehab, the physio or the support to enable her to return to some kind of active life. Now, many months later, it is too late - that will not happen. My mum rarely gets out of bed any more.
"For many people, such an experience is all too familiar. It happens because of how social care and health have been allowed to operate over the years, with no proper integration and without people in the two services talking to each other.
"My parents receive a care package now, with carers coming in. My mum’s social care needs are met but the lack of proper support has meant that things are not as they should be. I do not think that my mum’s case is the worst, by any means, but it is indicative of where things are missing."
Bill said he feared that Tory-Lib Dem Government cuts would make matters worse for people in need of care in Sefton and throughout Merseyside.
He told MPs: "The Government has made a proposal and they have talked a lot about integration between health and social care. I remember looking at integrated health and social care teams many years ago as a local councillor and there was success then. There has been more success recently and there are good examples of health and social care professionals working together, but cuts to social care, in particular, mean that the money simply is not there any more.
"In Sefton, we have seen a 40% cut in local government funding. The care managers are simply not there any more. They are not there, as Members have said, to help people in the community stay in their own homes; they are not there to help people who have gone into hospital go home again. Those situations are combining to leave a crisis in A&E.
"I am afraid that the reorganisation of the NHS during the first years of this government, with clinical commissioning groups being created, meant that administrators and managers in the health service were concentrating on setting up new structures and not on ensuring that health services were delivered properly. These things do not happen by accident. When £3 billion is spent on reorganisation and not on patient care, that is the sort of situation we end up with."
Bill said Tory-Lib Dem, proposals to introduce a £72,000 cap on Social Care bills was "tinkering at the edges" problem and he called for free Social Care at the point of need.
Bill said: "We have a proposal for a £72,000 cap on care, but my honourable friend the Member for Lewisham East described the sum that her nan had to pay, which was £130,000. For many people, the £72,000 cap will be no help, and other Members have given the details that show that.
"There are a number of ways of funding social care, one of which is to have a cap. However, let me return to the comments made by the honourable Member for Bradford East. If we are considering free social care at the end of life, or a lot earlier than that, perhaps the time has come for Members to debate free social care as part of a free at the point of delivery and at the point of need health and social care service, like that which my right honourable friend Andy Burnham has mentioned before. Perhaps the time has come to say that that is the ambition that we, as Members of Parliament, should have.
"Tinkering at the edges will not solve the problem. The debate we must have - and it must be a cross-party debate - is about how to pay for such a service. As people get older, that is what will be needed.
"Sooner or later, we as legislators will have to deliver exactly that service. Anything short of that will not solve the problems; things will only get worse. I put it to Members from all parties that that is what is needed.
"We have made a start with the bill and tonight’s debate, but we will need to move down the route of free health and social care and of whole-person care. That is the only way we can solve the challenge of an ageing population."